Toenails are the hardened, protective plates of keratin found on the ends of your toes. They are made up of dead skin cells that have been pushed out from the nail bed. Toenails are thicker, more curved, and usually darker in color than fingernails. They can range in size from 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick. They grow slowly, taking up to 6 months for a full toenail to replace its predecessor. Toenails help protect the toes from injury and provide traction when walking on slippery surfaces. They can also be used to detect certain health conditions such as fungal infections, poor circulation, and even diabetes. An analogy that can help you better understand toenails is to think of them as tiny shields for your toes. Just like a shield protects a knight from harm, toenails protect your toes from injury and harm. Fun fact: Toenail clippings are used in forensic science. They are analyzed to determine a person’s age and sex.