Nail structure and function

Gap-fill exercise

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   0.5mm t      1.2mm      4 and 6      blood      bottom      cells      clear      covered      cuticle      divide      filed      fingertips      healthy pink      infected      messages      nerve impulses.      nourishment      overlapping      plate      protect      separate      shield      soft      white   

The basic nail unit

Nails grow from the end of the fingers and toes and their main purpose is to form a hard protective .

The matrix is found at the of the nails and is the growing area of the nail. It is made up of - tiny particles that make up all living things. The cells to produce the nail plate.

The nail plate

The nail is the correct name for the part of the nail that covers the nail bed. The nail bed is the portion of the skin on which the nail plate rests. The cells here are and have become hardened. These hard cells serve to protect the nail bed below, and because they are clear you can see if the living nail bed is a colour. The funtion of the nail plate is to the nail bed.

The nail grows forward slowly over the nail bed at a rate of o per week. It takes between months for the nail plate to grow fully from cuticle to free edge.

The nail bed

The nail bed is the part of the skin by the nail plate. The nail plate and nail bed at the free edge end of the finger. The nail bed is made up of living cells and contains many vessels. The blood vessels provide necessary for healthy growth and repair.

The nail bed also contains nerves that send to the central nervous system. The functions of the nail bed are to supply nourishment and protection by means of


The cuticle is the skin at the bottom of the nail plate that grows forward onto the nail plate. When overgrown, it can grow high up onto the nail plate and will often split, which may cause it to become .

It is important to keep the cuticles and loose. The function of the is to protect the nail plate from infection.

Free edge

The free edge is the part of the nail that grows beyond the . It is usuall , as it does not have the pink nail bed below it. It is the part of the nail that is and shaped. The function of the free edge is to protect the fingertips.