Students need strong feet for pointe work, but few concentrate on their toes specifically. "Fatigue sets in and they start knuckling," says Atlanta Ballet podiatrist Dr. Frank Sinkoe. This puts excess pressure on the nails, causing bruising. The exercises below strengthen the arch and intrinsic muscles, which flex the toes and support the feet.
In parallel position, lift one leg off the floor to the side. Plié to 30 degrees and focus on maintaining the arch's dome shape. Hold for five seconds and return to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions.