What anatomy of the nail plate and bed are relevant to paronychia?

Updated: Oct 09, 2020
  • Author: Elizabeth M Billingsley, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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The nail, or nail plate, lies immediately on top of the nail bed, which consists of the following 2 portions, which are involved in the production, migration, and maintenance of the nail:

  • Proximal portion - Called the germinal matrix; contains active cells that are responsible for generating new nail; damage to the germinal matrix results in malformed nails

  • Distal portion - Called the sterile matrix; adds thickness, bulk, and strength to the nail

The white, crescent-shaped opacity at the proximal end of the nail is the lunula, which is the visible portion of the germinal matrix. The whiteness of the lunula is due to the poor vascularity of the germinal matrix.

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