The Toenails are located at the tips of the toes of the feet. They are made of cornea and protect the toes from mechanical impact. A number of diseases can be identified by the condition of the toenails. However, you can also have nail disease.
What are toenails?
Toenails are skin-colored, flat structures. They're located on the top of each toe. Toenails harmonize in size with their respective toes. This is how the biggest toe has the biggest toenail. The smallest toe also has the smallest nail. Toenails grow about 1 millimeter per month. They are horn plates.
They developed from the epidermis due to the necessary protective function. In addition to protecting the toes, the toenails also support the gripping function of the foot. Toenails are made up of many layers. There are up to 150 layers of horny cells. A toenail is on average 0.5 millimeters thick.
Anatomy & structure
A toenail consists of a straight nail plate and is placed in a nail pocket. The nail root is located in the deepest point of the nail pocket. There the toenail is made from horn plates. The upper area of the nail pocket that rests on the nail is called the eponychium. It's a thickened layer around the toenail.
It protects the nail from bacteria. Eponychium is epithelium, also known as covering tissue. The cuticle is located at the transition from this epithelium to the visible beginning of the nail. It also has a protective function. The cuticle is covered with a natural layer of fat and water. It thus offers a protective wall against pathogens. Under the nail plate is the hyponychium. This layer of skin protects the nail plate.
Under this connective tissue-like layer lies the nail bed, which is firmly attached to the periosteum. The hyponychium becomes the matrix, directed towards the root of the nail. This is the place where the nail substance is created. This area is clearly visible as a nail moon. Below the tip of the toenail is skin with particularly sensitive sensory cells. The texture of a surface or the hardness can be felt.
Function & tasks
The most important function of the toenails is to protect the sensitive toes from mechanical influences and injuries. They help the foot to feel. They also allow scratching or scoring.
People can perceive pressure in a more differentiated manner through toenails. The toenail has no nerve cells or blood vessels. Therefore he does not provide any pain sensation himself. It is more of a defense shield in the event of an accident. If a toenail is removed in an accident, it takes about 6 months to grow back. However, it is not certain that a toenail will grow back in the same size and structure.
Discoloration may develop or the nail may grow in a different thickness and length than before. The appearance of the nails can provide important health indicators for a doctor. Skin diseases in particular are easy to identify.
Illnesses & ailments
A healthy nail is transparent and smooth. If the nail bed is well supplied with blood, the nail looks pale pink. The protruding edge of the nail and the crescent-shaped lunula (nail moon) appear slightly whitish. But not every toenail shows this ideal. Many toenails are deformed, discolored, and appear far from ideal for a variety of reasons.
Nail fungus is one of the common diseases. It changes the toenails, turns light yellow and dissolves into fragments. A nail fungus detaches the nails from the nail bed. Because nail fungus is contagious, it should be treated as soon as possible. Each nail fungus can be individually different. Therefore, not only self-medication is recommended, but also a prompt visit to the doctor. Psoriasis can spread not only to the skin but also to the toenails.
As a result, the nails become porous and offer more attack surfaces for pathogens. The nail plates become detached and the nails become spotted. Since the visual symptoms differ only slightly from a fungal nail infection, a nail bed biopsy is often necessary to identify the clinical picture. Each therapy is individually different, but with psoriasis mostly certain medications that work from the inside help. Ingrown nails are usually quite painful, as they can activate the sensation of pain with every movement.
Incorrect pedicures can be the reason. To prevent such pain, it is beneficial to see a professional podiatrist. Longitudinal grooves in the toenails can arise due to age or are already congenital. Transverse grooves in the toenail can occur after injuries and slowly grow out again. Bumps against the toenail can cause whitish discoloration. Although it is not visually beautiful, one can only wait for it to grow out. There are also many types of malformed nails. A dermatologist can advise accordingly.