How Are Tiger Claws Similar To My Toenails?

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to talk about toenails. What is there to talk about? You may be surprised at some interesting facts about our toenails. Our toenails often get trapped in sweaty shoes, stubbed up against curbs or stairs, or cut too short during a trip to the nail salon. They may seem like more of a burden, but it turns out that the nails on our toes do a lot more than we give them credit for!

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, our nails served a much different purpose than they do today. When humans were hunters and gatherers, we didn’t use shoes! As horrifying as that sounds, our feet, and toenails adapted to our needs by toughening up the skin on our feet into calluses, as well as the thickness and length of our toenails. This came in handy when we spent long periods of time walking and foraging in all kinds of different terrain.

As you may have thought, this means our toenails serve a similar purpose to the claws of other animals! Our toenails certainly don’t look like the claws of a tiger, but when it comes to function, they are similar in nature. Our toenails are made from a type of protein called “alpha-keratin” that also makes up the claws, hooves, and horns of other animals. This means that your toenails are made of the same stuff that a billy goats horns are made of!

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., we are here to help you protect your feet from painful, inconvenient ingrown toenails. Podiatrists like Dr. McKinney are passionate about helping you feel better! Visit us online to learn more and to easily schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns, or by calling us today at (713) 946-1500.