Nails are a relatively important part of our body, which we use for various purposes every day. Sometimes they cause us trouble when they break and we have to cut them all the time. But why do nails grow at all and what is their purpose?
The nail is a keratin plate that occurs on all fingers of the human body and other primates. It is 0.5 to 1 mm thick, grows from the nail root and slides on a very sensitive nail bed. On the hands, the nail grows approximately 0.1 mm per day and on the feet up to 4 times slower. The analogy of the nail in other vertebrates are the hooves, claws or horns.
The nail has many functions, some of which are given by the human anatomy, some are more practical and some more cultural. The anatomical purpose of the nail is to protect the fingertip and surrounding tissue from injury. Another purpose is the need for very smooth movements, which are not possible without nails or other tools, such as removing chips. This is also possible due to the fact that the nail bed is very sensitive and a firm nail allows easy transmission of information about objects without the need for any nerve endings. It is also possible to cut or scratch with the nail, which is used, for example, for peeling fruit. The cultural functions of the nail include, above all, the aesthetic treatment of the nails, such as trimming, painting and sanding.
Nails have various important functions in human society, which is why we need to use them. However, since they can break when used, our nails must be constantly renewed. As a result, this is also the answer to the question why our nails grow.