Claw toe and hammertoe conditions are fairly common in cultures that wear shoes. In most cases, these problems can be traced directly to ill-fitting shoes.
The forefoot and toes are made up of several bones. Each of the four smaller toes starts with a metatarsal bone within the forefoot. Moving down the foot from the metatarsal bone are three smaller bones, called phalanges. The first of these small bones is called the proximal phalanx. (Proximal means closer.) Next comes the middle phalanx, and last is the distal phalanx. (Distal means further away.)