Anatomy and Structure of Finger Nails

anatomy and structure of nailsWhen you look at your nails, the visible hard keratin structure growing over the tip of your fingers and toes is only one single part of the nail structure.  It is called nail plate. There are many different parts in nail structure. Each part interacts with the others to keep the nail healthy.  

Matrix is a small area of living tissue below the eponychium.
Matrix is the most important part of the nail. It produces keratin protein cells that create the nai plate. If the matrix becomes damaged, the effects are usually seen in the nail place. The damaged matrix area can cause splits, ridges, white spots, and other deformities of the natural nail plate.

The size and shape of the matrix determine the thickness and width of the nail plate. A wider matrix makes a wider nail plate. The longer matrix creates thicker nail plate.

 Nail Plate: The nail plate is the hard part keratin structure growing over the tip of the nail. The part of the nail plate growing beyond the fingertip is called the free edge. 

 
Nail Bed: The nail bed is an area of pinkish tissue underneath the nail plate that supports the nail plate as it grows. It is made of 2 types of tissue, dermis and epidermis. Dermis is the lower layer of the nail bed. Epidermis is the upper layer of the nail bed, closest to the nail plate. There is many types of epidermis in our body. The epidermis tissue under the nail plate is called bed epithelium. The dermis has many ridges and groove like channels running from lunula to just before the free edge. The soft bed epithelium(Epidermis) slides into those channels. The demis is anchored firmly in place to the bone underneath. Eponychium is the part of skin which lies directly on top of the newly developing nail plate.  It is an very important part of the nail. Cuts, nicks, bruises, irritating substances, or other injuries to the eponychium can cause permanently lost or damaged nail plate.

 

Cuticle Cuticle is a thin layer of colorless, dead tissue shed from underside of eponychium.It seals the space between the eponychium and the nail plate to prevent infections of the matrix.
 
Solehor: Solehor is the cuticle grows underneath of the free edge. 
 
Lunula: Lunula is the opaque white half-moon at the base of the nail plate.  The curve of the lunula determines the natural curve of the nail edge. 
 
Nail Folds: Nail fold is skin fold area surrounding the nail plate from all sides.  Proximal nail fold is skin fold area on the base of the nail plate.  Lateral nail fold is skin fold area on each side of the nail plate. 
 
Onychodermal Band: The Onychodermal Band is a bunched up tissue under free edge of the nail plate, where the bed epithelium passes the nail bed to become solehor. 

Hyponychium: Hyponychium is the point at the tip of your finger at which your nail plate separates from your nail bed. Hyponychium protects the nail bed from pathogents under the free edge. 

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