Lunula

nail anatomy

The lunula [loo-nyuh-luh] (‘little moon’ in Latin) is the crescent-shaped whitish area of the bed of a fingernail or toenail. The lunula is the visible part of the nail matrix (i.e. the root of the nail). In humans, it appears by week 14 of gestation, and has a primary structural role in defining the free edge of the distal nail plate (the part of the nail that grows outward). The lunula is most noticeable on the thumb, however, not everyone’s lunula is visible. In some cases, the eponychium may partially or completely cover the lunula.

It is located at the end of the nail (that is closest to the skin of the finger), but it still lies under the nail. It is not actually white, but it only appears so, when it is seen through the nail. Outlining the nail matrix, the lunula is a very delicate part of the nail structure. If one damages the lunula, the nail will permanently be deformed. Even when the totality of the nail is removed, the lunula remains in place and is similar in appearance to another smaller fingernail embedded in the nail bed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.