Not all ballet teachers emphasize the use of the floor in the zillion battement tendus and battement degages that you in the first few years of training. In fact, every brushing movement you do for a grand battement, a glissade or a jete or assemble, should work the sole of the foot muscles.
Even if you are taught to use the floor properly, foot exercises added to your daily routines ensure that you build the strength needed to begin pointe work.
The common ballet injuries mentioned above can be prevented. In practicing foot exercises, reflexes are built along with muscle. Your body's proprioception is enhanced. Proprioception is a vast subject. Suffice it to say that your brain has a communication system with the muscles, joints, and inner ear, (part of your balance system ) that is automated. It allows instant perception and adjustments to muscle behaviour so that you can function in the world without deliberately monitoring every tiny move you make.
Since we are so brilliantly engineered, let's do all we can do to take full advantage of it.
For example, Achilles tendon injuries are a symptom of deficient muscle activity, or overtraining/muscle exhaustion in the feet and perhaps lower leg muscles too. Or full body exhaustion.
The Achilles tendon will become inflamed in response to the strain and resulting lack of support in nearby muscles. The use of the foot, ankle and calves must be reviewed in order to recover, and prevent future misuse.
Take full advantage of the information from current manuals that discuss anatomy, foot types, foot exercises, and all the requirements for advancing to dancing in pointe shoes (and also lead to excellent footwork for male ballet virtuosity). Muscle exhaustion and injuries can be prevented.
Dianne M. Buxton trained at The National Ballet School of Canada, The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and Toronto Dance Theater. Click here for free articles on how to get exactly the right fit in ballet shoes and pointe shoes, The Perfect Pointe Book, The Ballet Bible, details about ballet technique, dance books, and full body workouts.