Fingernail measurement.

In 1941 Dr. William Bennett Bean started his study on nail growth. His investigation began back in 1941 when he filed a horizontal line just above the cuticle and then measured its stately progress up the fingernail.

The American physician subsequently published his findings – once (incorrectly) described as the most boring scientific study ever undertaken – as “Nail growth: 35 years of investigation”.

The actual rate of growth one may (or may not) be interested to learn is 0.123mm a day. But what is remarkable is its staggering constancy over many years – almost as if the nails were aware of the higher purpose they are intended to serve.

The growth slowed remarkably when Dr Bean was laid low by mumps, but compensated by doubling its speed for the following six months. Disease and trauma might be expected to have an adverse effect, but not so: the nails accelerate as if to “grow out” the damage – a fifth as fast again in regular nail-biters.

The only other body part (besides the hair) that shows a similar constancy of growth in adulthood are the ears. They increase in size by the same amount in a year as the nail does in a day.

A milestone in William Bean’s nail growth research concerns his 1963 paper:

‘A Discourse on Nail Growth and Unusual Fingernails’

William Bennett Bean (1909-1989)

William Bennett Bean
(8 Nov 1909 – 1 Mar 1989)

American physician and author. His research in nutrition included induced vitamin deficiencies in humans. He contributed more than 500 articles to professional journals, served on editorial boards, and wrote several books.

RELATED STORIES & MORE:
Research says: ‘nails grow faster on a protein-diet & vitamin D!’
Lee Redmond’s story behind ‘World longest fingernails’!
The latest news about fingernails
More fingernail reports at ‘HandFacts’

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FINGERNAIL
DISORDERS:

Paronychia concerns usually a mild bacterial infection where the nail plate meets the skin - nail fold/cuticle.

There are types of 'paronychia': acute paronychia (sudden onset) & chronic paronychia (gradual development).

Paronychia

 

What is paronychia?

Paronychia concerns a bacterial infection of the skin (cuticle or lateral fingernail fold) surrounding the fingernail or toenail – often caused by an ingrown nail. Along with gradual thickening + browning discoloration of the nail plate, pus is usually present under the skin.

What causes paronychia?

Regarding the cause of paronychia, the two most common causes are:

Pyogenic paronychia = inflammation of the folds of skin surrounding the nail caused by bacteria (NOTICE: acute paronychia is usually a pyogenic paronychia);

Candidal paronychia = inflammation of the nail fold produced by Candida albicans (NOTICE: chronic paronychia is often a candidal paronychia);

Runaround paronychia = inflammation around the entire nail.

What is the right treatment for paronychia?

In mild cases, an acute paronychia may disappear within a few days. A painful paronychia can be treated with self care at home (including: warm soaks, draining of pus). Severe cases of acute paronychia – should be treated with antibiotics (consultation with your doctor/general practitioner is then recommended).

MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF THIS FINGERNAIL DISORDER:
How to treat a paronychia nail disorder?

PHOTO – An example of a severce case of paronychia:

An example of a severce case of paronychia.

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
The FINGERNAIL TUTOR: an online nail disorder identification tool!
4 Common nail diseases!
Koilonychia – causes + treatment of the ‘spoon nail’
Leukonychia – having ‘white spots’ on your fingernails (white nails)

Learn how to take care of your cuticles.

The function of the cuticle (or eponychium) in the nail anatomy is to function between the skin of the finger and the nail plate: the cuticle fuses these structures together and provides a waterproof barrier.

Many people experience problems with their cuticles for ragged cuticles can be annoying. Whatever you do, don’t snip or bite them off – instead you better use a nail pusher or a cuticle eliminator (see the picture below).

You can judge the ‘health’ of your cuticle by means of it’s: color & shape.

Actually, in terms of protection of your fingernail’s health the cuticle is likely the most important part of your nail!

A technical description of the ‘cuticle’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:


“The cuticle is the distal horny end-product of the proximal nail fold. The cuticle adhers to the nail plate and seals the nail from environmental pathogens and irritants.”

Do you have problems with your cuticles?

You can try the nail tutor:
The cuticle: find the cause of your nail disorder!

Example of how to use a cuticle eliminator.

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)