Save your feet and save money, too!

Even the name sounds expensive.

When a doc says "custom orthotic," you can almost feel the cash slipping out of your wallet.

These things can cost hundreds of dollars, and they're usually not covered by insurance.

Now, the latest research shows that you don't have to shell out all of that cash.

You can give your feet the support they need... and end the pain and agony of conditions such as plantar fasciitis... for a fraction of the price.

And you don't even need to visit a specialist to get the relief your feet so desperately need.

The new study finds that expensive custom orthotics are nothing more than cash cows for podiatrists -- because they're no more effective than the plain old off-the-shelf inserts that you can buy in Target or Walmart!

The customized ones don't ease heel pain better. They don't restore movement more effectively. They don't help you recover more quickly.

They don't do anything better than the cheap-o inserts -- and the study finds that even THOSE might not be needed, either!

This isn't to say that you should ignore plantar pain.

But the study finds that basic treatments without specialized inserts or orthotics also work just as well -- especially these three, which won't cost you much at all:

  1. Supportive shoes: This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you wear flimsy footwear or haven't bought a new pair of shoes in a while, it's time to give yourself an upgrade. Even without inserts, a supportive pair of shoes can ease pain, restore movement, and prevent the injury from coming back.
  2. Night splints: These are, essentially, elaborate socks with Velcro straps to keep your foot stretched as you sleep. Most cost under $20 and can be especially helpful at preventing the burning "first step" pain that a plantar injury can give you in the morning.
  3. Stretching: Flex your feet a few times a day, but don't do any old random stretches. Not all of them will help (and some may hurt). Here's one easy stretch that targets right muscles: Take off your shoes and socks, sit down, and raise your foot high enough so that you can grab your big toe. Gently pull it back and slowly release it a few times, then do the same on the other foot. You can look online for more proven plantar stretches.

If you have plantar pain, these tips will help you recover -- although it can still take a few months, so be patient.

And if you don't have the condition, you might want to follow these steps anyway to help ensure that you never get it.