Toenails are a sort of envelope composed of keratin, a tough protein, which covers the top of the terminal phalanges of a person’s fingers. Nails are similar to the claws that can be found in other animals. Each nail is made up of a nail plate-this is the top of the toenail. It is also made up of the nail matrix, a thin layer of tissue upon which the nail plate rests and the site of the cells that eventually become the nail plate. Each nail also has a nail bed-a layer of skin that connects the nail matrix to the hand. And lastly, each nail has the grooves that surround the nail matrix.
Nails protect the tissues that they cover from injury. They also enhance the delicate movement and the sensitivity of the tips of the toes, although the nail itself has no nerve endings. Toenails help defend the toe and keep the toe pulp under control. Fingernails usually grow at a faster rate than toenails. Nails grow more quickly in higher temperatures. Since toes are usually hidden in shoes or socks, they receive less light and therefore less warmth and air, which slows their growth rate.