4 Essential Oils That Beat Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Stretching, massage, rest and applying ice, heat and using orthotics are all Podiatrist recommended ways to help manage your plantar fasciitis.
However, some people want to look at other natural remedies that might help.
One popular way to relax muscles is to apply essential oils, either massaging them into the skin or adding them to a bath.
The concentrated plant oils are then absorbed into the skin and muscles, proving some pain relief.
Which essential oils will help my plantar fasciitis?
Any treatment that can help reduce local muscle, tendon or fascia pain will be of benefit to plantar fasciitis sufferers.
There are some essential oils available that can be applied direct to the skin and rubbed into the foot to provide anti-inflammatory help to soothe the ache you feel on the sole of your foot and around your heel.
This list of essential oils for plantar fasciitis will whet your appetite and we will discuss them further on in this article.
Plantar fasciitis essential oils - usage guide:
There are many ways that essential oils can be applied and used and it is important to know the correct "carrier" liquids, such as oils, to help ensure correct application.
This mini-guide will help you see how to apply the 4 best essential oils for foot pain and fascia injury.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This oil, which has been extracted from the both bark and leaves of the Eucalyptus tree is an excellent anti-inflammatory and heating dose.
To use this oil, which can be too strong if used neat, make sure to dilute it with some coconut oil, which will help it to be absorbed into the skin.
The mixture can then be massaged direct into the sole of your foot, using a circular motion or rubbed into the heel, around the achilles tendon and even onto your calf muscle, if that is also tight.
Read more: 15 Best Benefits of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
This essential oil is most commonly used to treat tension pains such as headaches or stress and anxiety.
Having a mild sedative effect, drops can be applied direct to the skin after being mixed with a carrier liquid, such as coconut oil. Apply it around the affected area of your foot, massaging in as required (which is also a great way to help relieve plantar fasciitis pains).
If you also suffer from cramps or pains in the night from any foot pain, you can add a few drops to a bowl of water and sit it on the side in your bedroom. The smell from the lavender oil vapours will help you get a good nights sleep.
Learn more about the benefits of Lavender essential oil.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is a great essential oil for helping relive muscle and joint pain, including those you get in your foot too.
Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are perfect for those of us with heel pain or plantar fasciitis.
Rosemary is one oil that can be applied direct without being diluted, but can also be inhaled, which will help with your general well-being and for overall pain relief.
Rosemary oil is also great for other ailments such as indigestion or coughs and colds - read more.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
This is not a well-known essential oil, but is perfect for treating bruises, nerve pain or tense muscle pains such as fascia strains or tendonitis.
As with most of these oils, it is best applied direct to the skin after being mixed with coconut oil, which will help the oil become absorbed into your skin and muscles.
Click to read more about using Helichrysum oil.
How to apply essential oils for your plantar fasciitis.
There are a few different ways you can use essential oils for your bad feet. The most simple method is where the oils can be applied direct to the affected area. They are absorbed into the skin and then into the muscles and tendons underneath.
Using the right combination of oils and carrier (see below), you can create your own "essential oil rub" that will be your go-to remedy for aches and pains.
First, lets go over some safety aspects - some people may get a bad reaction from using oils direct on their skin.
This is the same for any sort of products that you might use to though, from makeup to shampoo or perfume.
Test on your skin first.
To make sure you are not going to have a negative reaction, first, try a small amount of the oil mixed with the carrier oil on your skin and wait for a few hours to allow it to permeate your pores.
If you do get any reaction, immediately apply some more carrier oil - do not attempt to remove the oil with water!
This will just end up spreading the oil further on your skin and may cause additional reactions.
Never heat up the oils.
It might seem like a good idea that you could heat up the oil to make the experience more pleasurable and to provide some pain relief. However, this is NOT a good idea.
Oils can burn, so please never consider warming it up in the microwave or anything silly like that.
Rubbing the oil in your hands before you apply it to your feet will make it warm enough - similar to how a massage therapist uses their oils.
External use only!
These oils are not for drinking and should only be used on the outside of your body, never consumed.
There are some essential oils that have been classified as "generally recognised as safe" by the FDA for use in food with certain limitations - however this is not recommended in the case for people with painful feet.
This video explains how to create your own massage oils using carrier oil and essential oils.
There are some great tips in this video,such as:
Massage the oil into your feet.
Simply apply the oil and gently rub or massage it into the area where you feel pain the most. For plantar fasciitis sufferers, this will be along the sole of the foot where the fascia joins from the heel to the ball.
Don’t overdo the massage though - be gentle and if you feel any pain, stop immediately.
You can also take note to massage it into the heel area, where many people feel pain first thing in the morning.
If you have been told that you suffer from tight calf muscles, which can also be an added cause and complication for your PF, you can use your essential oil rub to massage that area too.
Another popular way to use oils is to add a few drops to a bowl of warm water or in your bath. You can put your feet in the bowl of water and soak them, or relax in the bath as you would do normally.
Remember to dilute your essential oils with "carrier" to activate the benefits.
As you have read above, when being applied to the skin, most essential oils are best mixed and diluted with a "carrier" such as coconut oil. However, it is also important that the better quality carrier is used, which will help the oil do its work best.
Also, some oils can be too strong to apply when neat.
As a rule of thumb, dilute 1 drop of essential oil with 7-10 drops of carrier oil. mixing them together in your hands before applying to your feet, ankles and calf muscles.
"Hot oils" can help with pain relief.
There are also some carrier oils that give a warming sensation, which can help with pain relief. These oils, also known as "Hot Oils" are usually blends of a base carrier-oil and a ingredient such as Cinnamon, Peppermint or Lemongrass.
These can sometimes feel a little odd, so test a small amount on the back of your hand first. If you don’t like the sensation, dilute it some more with some extra carrier oil.
How and where to buy the right essential oils.
As I said earlier, there are many skeptics regarding the effectiveness of essential oils and aromatherapy and unfortunately, like with most treatments, there are some people who have tried to profit by creating sub-standard oils.
Which oils should I buy?
When you are looking to buy essential oils, stick to some recognised brands such as Young Living, who sell therapeutic grade essential oils, which are much stronger than the usual "off the shelf" oils you might get in your local store.
Where should I buy my essential oils from?
Essential oils are quite readily available these days, whereas once, you used to have to buy them from specialist stores or from trained therapists.
If you can't find any in your local drugstore (make sure you look for brands that are "therapeutic grade" oil) then the alternative would be to purchase them from an online store, such as Amazon.
Do they really work?
The use of essential oils to treat anything is a contentious subject and there are many people who sing it’s praises and an equal number who have gone to great lengths to try to prove it does not work at all.
Use of Essentials oils also gets lumped in with Aromatherapy, which, although using similar products, does work in a slightly different way.
My opinion is that not all people want to be taking man-made chemicals all the time, be they tablets or creams. Using natural products such as essential oils can be a good way to get a similar effect, which combined with your belief in their properties should have a positive affect on you.
When you smell coffee in the morning, just the smell of the coffee grounds helps to wake you up - surely this mind-over-body effect has it’s uses.
Despite the lack of repeatable scientific evidence that essential oils or plant/flower based medicines are effective in treating medical issues, they are still used around the world and have been for thousands of years, helping to treat a wide range of problems, including foot pain.
If you are interested in reading more about whether essential oils actually work, there is a good write up by Chad Jones at Skeptiod.com, who says that:
"I am not saying that essential oils have no use. Instead I am saying that their effectiveness is exaggerated."
There is also some good impartial information on Pubmed.
So - to wrap up this article, the long and short of using essential oil for plantar fasciitis or foot pain could work for you.
Many people might poo-poo the idea and the scientists will be lining up to tell you that you are wasting your time and money.
However, there is lots of anecdotal evidence that essential oils do work for treating medical issues naturally.
And if you are not a pill-popper, who relies on over-the-counter meds every day to help with your plantar fasciitis, try giving essential oils a go - you have nothing to lose.