Nail Plate Definition
It is the actual fingernail that is made of translucent keratin protein composed of amino acids. It is produced by a type of modified epidermis. It is also known as “Body of Nail” or “Corpus Unguis”. The plate is the actual nail. In common terminology, the word “nail” only refers to the plate.
Nail Plate Anatomy
The nail consists of three sections –
- The nail plate
- The nail matrix
- The underlying nail bed and the adjoining grooves
It is the nail matrix which is responsible for the production of the cells which turn into the nail plate. The thickness and size of the nail plates are determined by the thickness, size, and length of the matrix. New nail plates originate from the matrix as round and white shields and push the cells of the older nail plates forward. It is by this process that nails “grow”. The cuticle on the plate is composed of dead cells and is typically removed during a manicure.
Nail Plate Appearance
It is the firm, translucent section of the nail that appears pinkish in color. This pink appearance is due to the presence of blood vessels beneath the nail. The underlying surface of the nail plate comprises of grooves along the entire length of the nail. It is these grooves which help the plate anchor itself to the nail bed. The transversal shape of the plate is determined by the shape of the underlying bone.
Nail Plate Function
It functions as a protective shield for the delicate tissues that lie under the nail bed.
Nail Plate Disorders
The plate of the nail is often affected by several diseases, which include:
Tinea Unguis infection
Tinea Unguis is a type of ringworm that affects the nails. It is characterized by deformities and thickening of the nails. It ultimately leads to a loss of the plate.
The condition results in atrophy or wasting away of the plate thus making it lose its sheen. The body of nail gets smaller and in some cases, falls off completely. This often occurs after an ailment or injury.
It is often a result of trauma (injury) and is marked by thickening of the plate. In this condition, the plate curves inward and compresses the nail bed. In some cases, a surgical intervention is required to resolve this problem.
It leads to brittle nails that often split lengthwise. These also peel or develop vertical ridges. The disorder can arise as a result of heredity or handling of strong solvents. Such nails have to be rehydrated with oil or paraffin to restore normalcy to them.
Nail plate abnormalities often result due to such inflammatory conditions that affect the nail bed or matrix. Physicians and dermatologists can diagnose these disorders by the unique physical characteristics that they give rise to. Plates of nails are commonly impacted by microbial infections, trauma, skin disorders and also advancing age. With advancing age, the protein level undergoes a change which makes the nails brittle and susceptible to splitting.
Practicing good personal hygiene and taking proper care of hands and feet can help lower the risk of most problems affecting nail plates.
Nail Plate Pictures
Check out these useful pictures of Nail Plate to know more about it.