Nail Injuries Overview
The fingernail is an important part of fingertip function. It provides support for the finger pad and improves sensation. The toenail functions in a similar manner in the foot.
Injuries to the nail can range from a bruise under the nail to separation of the nail from the nail bed. They can be complex wounds to repair. Permanent deformity to the nail can result, even after proper repair.
The nail is a complex structure involving three different layers.
- The nail bed is underneath the nail plate and is responsible for nail growth and support.
- The nail plate itself is the hard substance on the back of the finger or toe.
- The eponychium (cuticle) and lateral nail folds (raised skin on the sides of the nail) are also part of the nail unit.
Nail Injuries Causes
Most injuries to the nail arise from one of three mechanisms.
- Crushing forces, such as hammers, doors slamming on fingers, human bites, or machinery
- Slicing or cutting, such as knives, box cutters, or machinery
- Tearing or ripping, such as stubbing a toe or catching a fingernail on an object
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/14/2015
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