The anatomy of your fingernail: the nail unit!

July 30, 2009

The nail unit describes the anatomy of your fingernail.

The basic function of your fingernails could be described as a combination of: (1) to assist in picking up objects; (2) to protect the tip of your finger; (3) to improve fine-touch sensation; (4) and to enhance the esthetic appearance of the hand!

The fingernail is a unique structure whose component parts are collectively called the ‘nail unit’ (see the picture above).

Let’s take a quick look at the 10 basic aspects of the ‘nail unit’, which include:

• The nail plate (upper + lower picture)
• The free edge (upper picture)
• The lunua (upper picture)
• The cuticle (upper + lower picture)
• The proximal nail fold (upper + lower picture)
• The lateral nail fold (upper picture)
• The hyponychium (lower picture)
• The nail bed (lower picture)
• The nail root (lower picture)
• The nail matrix (lower picture)

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