Whether you realize it or not, toenails have more function than just providing a canvas for a splash of bright nail polish. Toenails are protective plates that guard your toes against injuries. The tops of toes are susceptible to injury, and with that protective nail on top of them, toes are less vulnerable to injuries and infections. Knowing the anatomy of toenails can help you care for them and know when it’s time to see a podiatrist about foot-related issues.
When looking at your feet, you might not realize just how many bones they have. The human foot is complex, housing 28 bones or almost a quarter of all your body’s bones. It also contains 30 joints as well as hundreds of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The foot is also broken down into three categories: forefront, middlefoot, and hindfoot. You’ll find toes in the forefront. Each foot has 14 toe bones, two per big toe (hallux) and three in the other four. These bones are called phalanges.
You might notice that even though toenails grow, they do so much slower than fingernails. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, if you lose a fingernail, a new one takes about four to six months to grow back, while a toenail can take about 12 months. However, certain factors can affect its growth including aging, heredity, and poor circulation.
You might be able to stimulate your toenails to grow faster by improving the keratin infrastructure. Doing so can also help your hair grow since it’s also made of keratin. You can also try natural remedies that contain olive oil and coconut oil.
The toenail grows out of the matrix, which is a little pocket that forms under the skin. It constantly creates new cells, lengthening the nails and forcing the old ones to get pushed together and out. Once these cells finally grow out of the matrix, they’re dead. As a result, it doesn’t when you trim your toenails. Although the nails don’t have any feeling, the layer of skin under the nails called the dermis has sensory nerve endings. When pressure is applied to your nails, it sends a signal to your brain.
Toenails consist of four major parts:
Just like fingernails, toenails need regular care. Not only is this important so your feet fit comfortably in shoes and sandals, but it can help you avoid problems such as ingrown toenails and fungal nail infections. To help care for your toenails, follow these steps:
Perhaps one of the most important ways to care for your toenails is to keep them healthy. Pedicures at a licensed facility are an excellent way to pamper your feet and prevent issues from arising. Along with pedicures, certain facilities also offer Keryflex nail restoration, which is a cosmetic way to manage fungal or damaged thick toenails. It uses high-quality synthetic resins that adapt to the movement of the toes and feet.
Toenails aren’t exempt from encountering issues. Since they’re located in shoes for a prolonged time, toenails endure a lot of stress. Whether it involves shoving them in boots for most of the winter due to frigid Chicago weather conditions or stubbing them on furniture, toenail issues are common. Some common nail diseases include the following:
If you have issues with your toenails or feet, you might need to seek medical attention. Dr. Schoene is a board-certified podiatrist who has more than 30 years of experience. As one of the few physicians in the country who is a podiatrist and athletic trainer, she knows what it takes to get you back on your feet pain-free. Reach out to her at one of the Chicago-area locations today.