Nail Trivia: Important Facts and Figures You Didn’t Know About Nails

Our hands and feet are used most often, and the fingers and toes are very prone to injuries.  Our nails, which are composed of hard protein called keratin, serve as protective covering to somehow shield our finger and toe tips.

Being rich in nerve endings, our fingers are highly sensitive areas making them prone to shock and various kinds of injuries like cuts, burns, bruises and trauma.  That’s why we need to have complete and healthy nails.

What composes our nails?

In common usage the word NAIL usually refers to the nail plate only, that hard part which is made of a tough protein called cartilage and produced from living skin cells in the fingers and toes.  But anatomically, fingernails and toenails are made up of different parts:

Photo by Shutterstock
Photo by Shutterstock

The free edge, that which grows past the finger beyond the nail plate

Cuticle (eponychium), the fold of skin at the nail’s proximal end

Paronychium, the fold of skin on the sides of the nail

Hyponychium, the attachment between the skin of the finger or toe and the distal end of the nail

Nail plate, the hard and translucent portion, composed of keratin

Nail bed, the adherent connective tissue which underlies the nail

Lunula, the crescent-shaped whitish part of the nail bed when it is visible

Nail fold, a fold of hard skin overlapping the base and sides of a finger nail or toe nail

The following are some nail trivia about nails you should know…