The nail plate is the actual fingernail. Despite claims that fingernails are utterly useless, they are actually important structures composed of the strong, fibrous protein called keratin.
Fingernails serve two purposes:
- They act as a protective plate for the fingertip
- They enhance the tactile sensation of the fingertips
Most people are aware of how the nail plate protects the finger pads and fingertips. However, the protective function of the fingernail and nail plate is less commonly known.
The fingertip has as many as 90 nerve endings. These nerve endings enable our bodies to receive and process information about the objects we touch every day. The nail plate is an important part of every tactile sensation we experience with our fingers — providing us more sensory input to each object we touch.
The pink hue of the skin under the nail comes from the blood vessels underneath the nail. The sub-surface of the nail plate has grooves along the length of the nail that help anchor it to the nail bed.
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