Why Don’t Your Fingernails Hurt When You Cut or Bite Them?

Just think what a world of long-nailed people we’d have if cutting, biting, or filing nails caused people pain. But none of these acts hurts the human body because nails are made up of hardened dead skin cells, actually a form of dead protein, much like the dead protein that forms the horns on deer, bulls, or moose. This dead protein is called keratin.

Most of the fingernail is fairly thick, but at the roots where it meets the skin, blood still flows to the nail and it is much thinner. This is the white area, shaped like a half-moon. It is called the lunile.

If a person didn’t cut or bite his nails, they would grow 2 inches every year. It takes an average nail 117-138 days to grow from the cuticle to cutting length.

The longest nails on a living human being are on the left hand of Murari Mohan Aditya of Calcutta, India. This 31 year-old Indian has let his nails grow since March, 1962 and the nails on his left hand have a total length of 61″. The longest single nail is on his ring finger. It extends out beyond his finger for 13″. But Mr. Aditya still hasn’t topped the record set in 1910 by a Chinese priest whose nails were each 22.5″ long!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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