Fingernail (longitudinal section)




Clinical case

Why does the nail bed appear blue when the individual is cold?

Workbook tasks

Slide 112: Fingernail


This slide is a longitudinal section through the fingernail.



  • Orientate yourself with respect to the visible structures.


  • The nail and surrounding tissue.


Draw and annotate:

A diagram of the fingertip and the fingernail.


  1. What is characteristic of the nail?
  2. What is characteristic of the nail bed?
  3. What is characteristic of the matrix?
  4. What is the skin fold at the proximal part of the nail called?


Medium magnification

High magnification


Ultra-low dissecting microscope view of the tip of a fetal finger with nail. Seen here are the nail fold (NF), the matrix region of the nail root (M), the nail bed (NB), nail proper (N), as well as eponychium (Ep) and hyponychium (Hy). A portion of the distal phalanx is also visible showing the secondary ossification centre (2o) and epiphysis.


Low magnification view of the root region of a developing nail from a fetal finger tip. Seen here is the nail fold (NF), nail bed (NB) and matrix (M) region of the nail root. The germinal cells (GC) are the basal layer of the epidermis that invaginates to form the matrix portion of the root. Beneath the nail bed is a portion f the distal phalanx showing an area of bone (B) in the diaphysis, and hyaline cartilage in the epiphysis, along with an area of the epiphyseal plate (EpPl).

Diagrammatic drawing of a normal nail.

The nail apparatus consists of a horny "dead" product, the nail plate, and four specialized epithelia: the proximal nail fold, the nail matrix, the nail bed, and the hyponychium.

© februarie 2008 marius loots