Most people these days are choosing to go natural in terms of treatment options for any given condition. Be it fever, cold, cough, or even plantar fasciitis, people have started to trust natural therapies more than artificial medicines and treatments. With that said, one of the most magical ways of healing plantar fasciitis naturally is by using essential oils.
Essential oils are extracted from plants and retain the smell and essence and various chemicals associated with these plants. These plant-based chemicals are known to possess multiple therapeutic properties that soothe your nerves and relax your mind and muscles. However, they do not heal you actively, but the process is gradual with no side effects.
Wonder how to use essential oils for plantar fasciitis? We have listed some essential oils that help relieve pain due to plantar fasciitis and some methods to try with the oils for effective pain reduction. Read on to know.
- 1 How Do Essential Oils Work?
- 2 Different Types of Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis
- 3 How to use Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis
- 4 How to Choose the Right Essential Oil
How Do Essential Oils Work?
As we know, essential oils are concentrated extracts from any part of a plant, be it the seeds, flowers, fruits, stem, leaves, or roots. These essential oils are obtained by processes like cold pressing or steam distillation. There is no scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of essential oils.
However, they are known to have psychological and physical benefits upon inhalation and topical application. Several people have claimed that it can cure joint pain and cough or congestion, and other common health ailments.
Essential oils are known to have an overall effect, be it psychological, physical, or chemical. So far, swallowing them has not been considered in the form of tablets or capsules as the exact reaction of essential oils in the digestive system is unknown. Essential oils are also suitable for topical applications, mainly for relieving joint pain or cosmetic purposes.
If used at high temperatures or with heat, it can help relieve pain due to ligaments and nerves like plantar fasciitis. The top layer of the skin i.e., the epidermis, absorbs these oils, then moves to the soft tissue and then into the bloodstream. The blood carries it to the affected areas, where it helps in treatment and is then metabolized by the liver.
Essential oils upon inhalation also cause a soothing psychological effect like relieving stress and soothing the brain’s nerves, which automatically help reduce pain in other parts of the body like our feet. A positive emotional response to the soothing smell of essentials oils helps alleviate pain, including plantar fasciitis. These essential oils can reduce foot fatigue and the overall stress on the ligament.
Different Types of Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis
For all those looking for therapeutic relief with essential oils, we have listed the ten best essential oils that you can try for relieving pain due to plantar fasciitis.
Peppermint has a very soothing and cooling effect when applied to the feet. It is generally useful for treating headaches due to stress and reduce inflammation due to its cooling effect. It has a very high level of penetration into the skin, which proves to be very helpful in reducing pain due to plantar fasciitis. The cooling menthol and analgesic-like effect also relieves heel pain and reduces foot fatigue, making you feel energetic.
Rosemary essential oil is known to have some antioxidant properties, and it is also very useful in treating cramps and muscle spasms. It is effective in reducing inflammation, relaxing the smooth muscles as well as your ligaments.
Lavender is believed to have various medical effects and gives an opioid-like response like tramadol, a commonly known pain-relieving medicine. It also helps relieve inflammation and swelling of the joints and across the plantar fascia ligament upon massaging and has a very relaxing fragrance. Lavender works best upon topical application and is recommended highly for aching feet.
Frankincense has a spicy woody smell and is known to offer various health benefits, including treatment for asthma and joint pain due to arthritis. Along with being useful for plantar fasciitis, it is beneficial as a medicine for various injuries. Frankincense is known to have multiple analgesic compounds present that are important for relieving pain due to plantar fasciitis upon topical application.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is known to be a strong antiseptic and has several anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Tea Tree Oil keeps your feet safe from infection and reduces swelling due to stress on the plantar fascia ligament. Its antifungal properties are effective against athlete’s foot. It has a very reviving smell that instantly awakens your senses.
Eucalyptus oil is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as a natural analgesic. It can drastically reduce heel pain naturally, and its strong aroma is known to have a stimulating effect on your brain’s nerves. Applying Eucalyptus oil makes you feel less pain and gives you the ability to control pain better. It can be beneficial by inhaling or even through topical application to destress yourself while resting due to plantar fasciitis and the analgesic properties reduce pain and inflammation. Eucalyptus oil also treats blisters and athlete’s foot.
Bergamot is cold-pressed essential oil obtained from the rinds of a citrus fruit that grows on bergamot orange trees. It is ideally a flavoring agent and is used in perfumes due to its fresh, fruity smell. It is known to relieve stress and various kinds of skin infections and when consumed, it can help reduce your cholesterol levels.
It has a range of therapeutic effects that can help reduce pain. Bergamot is useful against inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms. It is believed that bergamot aromatherapy is used to treat neuropathic pain, which is a condition caused due to nerve damage and can affect people with plantar fasciitis. Bergamot essentially has a compound called linalool, which has potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
With age and injured tissues, the muscles may get tender, which is one of the root causes of pain and inflammation. Ginger oil is essential in reducing the tenderness of the ligaments and connective tissues, helping patients dealing with plantar fasciitis. It has various anti-inflammatory agents that help in reducing inflammation as well as improving circulation. It helps through inhalation and topical application that can reduce the pain due to plantar fasciitis.
Birch is derived from the dry distillation of the bark of the birch tree and is known to be an all-in-one essential oil. It helps in comforting ailing and aging muscles along with maintaining and promoting healthy blood circulation. It also helps improve skin health, and the circulation increasing properties to reduce pain in the ligament, making them feel revived and flexible.
Lemongrass is known to work effectively on overstressed muscles and turns out to be an excellent remedy for stress and foot fatigue due to plantar fasciitis. Lemongrass adds a great smell along with a refreshing sensation to the body. Lemongrass is also known to boost immunity.
How to use Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis
You can either use essential oils directly or by various cold and hot processes to help make them more useful for relieving pain due to plantar fasciitis.
First off, you need to know that if you intend to massage your feet for plantar fasciitis using essential oils, you need to have a carrier oil that you can use in more significant proportions. To that, you can mix your essential oils for ease of spreading and massaging.
We have suggested a few methods that you can try to use essential oils for plantar fasciitis:
For a calming and soothing massage for relieving plantar fasciitis pain, you will need:
- 1 tablespoon of carrier oil like almond or coconut oil
- 4-5 drops of Birch
- 4-5 drops of Lemongrass
- 4-5 drops of Peppermint
How to Use:
- Take 1 Tablespoon of carrier oil in your palm.
- Mix it with a few drops of Birch, Lemongrass, and Peppermint Oil.
- Apply this mixture at the arch and back of your heel, as well as the soles—massage for a good 5 minutes.
- Make the same mixture again and apply it to your Achilles Tendon and calf muscles. Massage for at least 5 minutes.
- Once the oil has been thoroughly soaked, you can also use an ice pack to rub on your foot for 5-10 minutes, where you have massaged using the oil. This massage is effective before bedtime.
Foot Soaking in warm water has been a tradition that is followed for ages and soothes as well as rejuvenates your feet. It is also helpful in removing all the dirt off the feet due to hot water percolating in the corners. Here is what you will need:
- 4-5 drops of lavender oil/peppermint oil
- Two tablespoons of Epsom salt
- Three tablespoons of organic honey
- A tub, basin to soak your feet
- A towel for drying
- Coconut oil
How to Use:
- Take a tub, or use your basin to soak your feet into it.
- Add boiling water into the tub.
- Now make a mixture of the lavender/peppermint oil and the Epsom Salt along with organic honey. Honey is known to have some therapeutic properties as well and is also suitable for the skin.
- Carefully add this mixture to the tub containing hot water and soak your feet into it.
- Do this routine for about 15-20 minutes every night.
- Once completed, pat your feet dry using a towel and apply some moisturizer or coconut oil to prevent feet from getting dry.
Info: Epsom salt has magnesium mineral – a relaxation mineral that calms and soothes the muscles, making them less stiff. Sulfate, on the other hand, helps in increasing circulation and remove swelling from the affected areas.
Foot scrubbing not only removes the dead skin off your feet but is very stimulating as well. Here is what you will need:
- 8-10 drops of bergamot essential oil
- ½ cup of coconut/almond oil
- ½ cup of raw sugar
How to use:
- Mix all the items in a jar.
- Scrub your feet with the ingredients for a good 10 minutes.
- This scrub mixture exfoliates your dead skin cells as well as improves blood circulation around the feet. More the blood circulation, lesser the swelling. Scrubbing also helps in reaching the nutrients to our feet through the blood for quick recovery.
Deep Tissue Massage
- Massage is highly recommended for plantar fasciitis, but with essential oils, you can use around 5-10 drops of any of these oils and mix it with about 1 tablespoon of carrier oil like almond, olive, or coconut oil.
- Mix them properly in a bowl and apply to the painful sections of the foot.
- Use your thumb across the arch of the feet and gently press them upwards while supporting your top portion of the foot with other fingers and pressing them gently.
- Apply gentle pressure with the knuckles at the bottom of the feet.
- Press firmly around the soles and the arch as well for proper absorption of the oil.
- Repeat this routine 2 times a day for 5-10 minutes. The best time to follow this is before sleeping and after waking up in the morning.
You can also use a foot massager for plantar fasciitis for gentle yet effective vibrations against pain relief.
How to Choose the Right Essential Oil
Each essential oil comes with a dedicated composition of extracts, and its purity best determines its quality. Several brands claim that essential oils are of medical grade. However, we need to make sure we are choosing the right type.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before selecting essential oils:
Reputation: Buy essential oils only from a reputed brand. Check their originality stickers and standards if you order them online.
Purity & Quality:
if there are any additives or chemicals in the oil after distillation or steam processing, it means the quality of the oil has tampered with. Go for ones that have undergone the least processes and separation techniques to retain the quality.
Purity and Quality go hand in hand. Look for essential oils that contain only aromatic compounds. One hack is to check their ingredient label that would mention the oil’s scientific name rather than common or generic names.
Side Effects of Essential Oils
Various essentials oils undergo lots of refining processes only to make sure it’s safe to apply. Since they are plant extracts, they may contain many bioactive compounds that can cause allergies and skin rashes upon inhalation and application.
It is advisable to use these oils with a base oil like coconut, almond, or olive oil to reduce the chances of skin rashes or allergies. The most common essential oils associated with causing side effects are bergamot, tea tree, peppermint, and lavender.
Essentials oils like bergamot that contain citrus elements can increase the skin’s reaction to the sun and cause sunburns. They can also cause headaches and asthma in some people.
Avoid using essentials oils for breastfeeding and pregnant women as well as around small children.
Avoid ingesting essential oils as there are no studies supporting essential oils being edible and effective upon ingestion.
If you are completely allergic to essential oils or prone to allergies, avoid using them. Consider massaging your feet with regular oil or a foot massager for plantar fasciitis. You can always invest in shoes for plantar fasciitis to help improve your condition and for additional foot and arch support.
Essential oils have no scientific evidence but are proven to provide relief from the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. These oils are naturally obtained concentrated plant extracts that are soothing, have analgesic properties, and release your stiff ligaments and muscles along with reducing pain and inflammation.
We have listed various types of essential oils like tea tree, peppermint, lavender that have their individual properties and therapeutic benefits to alleviate pain.
We have also listed various detailed methods step by step on how to use these essential oils with hot or cold treatments and who can have suffered from side effects due to essential oils.
Read our article above and tell us which one is your favourite method for treating plantar fasciitis using essential oils through the comments section below.
Dr Kristine has a Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from New York College of Podiatric Medicine, and currently assists our team of shoe experts by fact-checking and confirming the information presented to the readers. As a podiatrist, she has previously worked with numerous athletes, working professionals, and high to low activity individuals on the impacts of a lifestyle on their feet. She has submitted many research papers on the role of the correct footwear in foot health and how to take adequate care of your feet.
Previously, she worked in a foot clinic attached to a hospital, before she decided to have a private practice in 2012. She has more than 15 years of experience in foot health and has been incredibly gracious in providing her expertise to the Wearsty team! Her patients have ranged from ordinary people ailing with foot problems regarding obesity, old age, and foot stress—to athletes, runners, and workers who have demanding routines.