Has anyone ever got itchy fingernails?

Have you ever wondered why you have fingernails?

The hand is one of the most amazing parts of the human body. You may not have studied this in school, but the human hand has something called an "opposing thumb." This means that we can use our thumbs and fingers to grab and manipulate objects. Chimpanzees and other large primates have thumbs that are similar to ours, but their thumbs are positioned so that they cannot grip objects the way we do. This skill is essential to be able to manufacture and use complex tools.

But what about fingernails? Although modern people take them for granted, fingernails are important to our daily actions. They help us dig, open things, and even scratch an itch. Fingernails are made from a tough protein called keratin. (Primates aren't the only animals to have found a use for keratin; hooves, horns, and claws are also made from this substance.)

Keratin gives the hair and the outer layer of the skin its strength. The reason fingernails are harder than hair and skin is because the keratinous fibers that make up nails are more dense (packed together). Keratin also repels water., That's why you don't swell like a sponge when swimming or bathing!

Here are some other interesting tidbits about fingernails.

Despite what you may hear, white spots on fingernails aren't caused by not having enough calcium. Instead, they are the result of your injury to the nail. Throughout the day, your fingernails will be popped and squeezed in a number of different ways. (Most of the time, you won't notice when this happens.)

Biting your fingernails is one of the most common habits in people, especially children., Nobody knows why biting your fingernails is so tempting, but I suspect parents have made their children stop doing it for centuries. What many parents may not know is that “biting” runs in families. ”That means if you bite your fingernails, there's a good chance one of your parents did the same thing when they were kids. Even if this is true, biting your nails is still not a good idea. This can damage the enamel and cause an infection in your finger.

If you hit your fingernail really hard, you can develop a blood clot under the nail. While this isn't dangerous, it hurts like hell. If the hematoma is large, doctors can treat it by drilling a tiny hole in the nail to drain the blood. This will relieve the pressure (and pain) until the injury heals.

Of course, any article on fingernails would be incomplete without saying something about nail polish. The practice of decorating fingernails seems to date back to the Incas around 600 years ago. The smell of wet nail polish can be a headache, but it's not dangerous. However, repeated use of nail polish can cause your fingernails to turn yellowish.,

- Howard J. Bennett

Bennett, a Washington-based pediatrician, is the author of the Max Archer, Kid Detective series. His next book "The Case of Recurring Stomach Pain" will be published in May.