Structure: Parts of a Nail

Protective plates called nails cover the ends of the fingers and toes. They consist mainly of keratin, the tough protein in hair and skin. Nails grow from the matrix, which lies below a fold of skin called the cuticle, and from the lunula, the crescent-shaped area at the base of the nail.

Nail structures

The most obvious part of a nail is the nail plate. This structure lies on the nail bed, an area rich in blood vessels.

External appearance

Cross section

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

Back to top