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Nail Anatomy

Nail is a horn-like envelope covering the dorsal aspect of the terminal phalanges of fingers and toes in humans, most primates, and a few other mammals.

Nails are similar to claws, which are found on numerous other animals. In common usage, the word Nail often refers to the Nail plate only.

Finger Nails and toe Nails are made of a tough protein called keratin, as are animals' hooves and horns. Along with hair they are an appendage of the skin.

The Nail bed is the skin beneath the Nail plate. Like all skin, it is composed of two types of tissues: the deeper dermis, the living tissue fixed to the bone which contains capillaries and glands, and the superficial epidermis, the layer just beneath the Nail plate which moves forward with the plate.

The Nail sinus is the deep furrow into which the Nail root is inserted. The Nail root is the part of Nail situated in the Nail sinus.

The Nail plate or body of Nail is the actual Nail, and like hair and skin, made of translucent keratin protein made of amino acids. In the Nail it forms a strong flexible material made of several layers of dead, flattened cells. The plate appears pink because of the underlying capillaries. Its shape is determined by the form of the underlying bone.