The soles of our feet are constantly under pressure and strain. There are many causes for which one could feel pain in the heels. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic home remedies can speed up recovery. For that, we have a few proven essential oils for plantar fasciitis you could use.
In this post, I’ll be talking about:
- The way Aromatherapy can work to your advantage and get you the relief you need.
- Pros and cons of some of the best essential oils that can be used for plantar fasciitis. These essences have been chosen because of their proven anti-inflammatory effects. Plus, a list of other good essential oils for heel pain.
- How to use these oils, with practical methods and recipes for plantar fasciitis (PF).
- More useful facts and details about the condition. Find relevant information on the causes and symptoms of PF and safety words for Aromatherapy use. Also, you will be able to read about plantar warts as well.
Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a painful syndrome. It is also known as subcalcaneal pain syndrome or talalgia. Older terms include plantar fasciosis and plantar fasciopathy. Talalgia refers to the pain felt in the heels and/or ankles.
The exact causes of PF are still a mystery, but there are many hypotheses. I will tell you more about them in the last part of the article, among other facts. In short, plantar fasciitis usually affects one leg at a time. It’s not a rule though, as it can affect both feet too.
The pain is intensely felt upon waking up, with the first steps you take. In about an hour, the level of pain becomes more bearable.
This painful syndrome can affect the life quality of the patient in many ways. Not only does it cause physical impairment, but it can also bring a person down.
Doctors don’t usually recommend surgery, unless all other options have been exhausted. Pain relieving medication, stretching and massage are suggested to improve or get rid of plantar fasciitis. This treatment period could last for 6 months and it’s called conservative treatment.
Plantar fasciitis is the painful condition of an inflammation in the plantar fascia. That’s where the name of the condition comes from.
The plantar fascia is a thick white connective tissue that goes from the heel bone to the ball of the foot and toes. It sustains the movement of each foot and the arch during movement. It also acts as a cushion, absorbing shocks.
This connective tissue can tear (microscopically) or break (partially). When you stand, this connective tissue or ligament has to support your whole body weight. Standing is when the plantar fascia is fully stretched.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Plantar Fasciitis Pain
When a tear or break occurs in the tissue, the body causes inflammation. It’s the first step towards healing.
Depending on how severe the damage is, the pain can be easier or harder to bear. Because you have to use your feet, the pain and healing are most often very slow.
This is where essential oils come in. Aromatherapy is regarded as a good form of CAM. It means complementary and alternative medicine. Aromatherapy uses concentrated plant extracts, also known as essential oils.
They are extracted from various plant parts by steam distillation. While there’s too little known about their benefits and action mechanism, there is enough proof to support their value.
Some aromatic oils are very good anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents. Analgesic is a more medical term for pain reliever.
Some of them can also boost collagen production. This is very useful in anti-aging therapies. The plantar fascia band is made of collagen fibers extended longitudinally.
With age, collagen production starts to decrease and the fascia to weaken. This is why plantar fasciitis is so common in older people. However, a boost in collagen production can speed up the sealing of the fascia tear.
Aromatherapy oils are volatile substances. Their tiny molecules absorb very fast into the lungs through the nose. But they can also enter the blood through skin and capillaries.
A good essential oil for plantar fasciitis or heel pain must be:
- Analgesic (pain relieving).
These three properties are extremely useful when it comes to soothing foot pain. It means that the oil can calm down inflammation at the injured site. It can also inhibit the pain receptors and calm down spasms and throbbing of the tissue.
Trying to heal plantar fasciitis with essential oils would also provide emotional benefits. It is a proven fact that some aromatic oils can affect the nervous system.
Thus, they can uplift the mood and lower blood pressure. These, among other effects, can induce relaxation and relieve anxiety or depression.
That being said, I will get right to the pros and cons of the oils you can use for pain and recovery. You want to know what essential oils are good for plantar fasciitis. Well, some of the best are Ginger, Eucalyptus, Turmeric and Clove.
There are others too, but these ones are good anti-inflammatory agents, backed up by scientific research. The rest of essential oils haven’t yet gotten the chance to get under a microscope.
1) Ginger Essential Oil
Botanical name: Zingiber officinale
- Ginger extract has been proven an effective anti-arthritic substance. The ginger extract contains essential oils and gingerol.
- The oil is able to reduce inflammation and swelling of the joints. This means it can do so with any other type of inflammation. This makes the oil of Ginger a good choice for plantar fasciitis treatment. It can also soothe muscle pain that comes with the strain of walking.
- It can also protect from infections and stimulate the nerve receptors.
- Ginger is uplifting and can help with stress symptoms.
- Avoid using Ginger essential oil for plantar fasciitis or heel pain before surgery.
- It should not be used with anticoagulant medication either.
Why I like it:
The essence is spicy and mildly lemony, which makes it great for nausea and digestion. It has antioxidant properties, which make it useful in skin care too.
2) Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Botanical name: Eucalyptus citriodora
- Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the best eucalyptus varieties. One study showed that it can affect the peripheral and central nervous systems. Thus, this oil variety can dilate the blood vessels and diminish blood pressure.
- The same study showed clear anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects. The other proven anti-inflammatory and analgesic variety of eucalyptus is globulus.
- Lemon Eucalyptus is antispasmodic, calming involuntary contractions of the muscles.
- The oil is also very relaxing and it affects the nervous system in a positive way.
- Lemon Eucalyptus can cause tearing and coughing for sensitive people.
- Seek medical advice first, if you have asthma or epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, etc.
Why I like it:
Lemon Eucalyptus is indeed one of the best essential oils for plantar fasciitis and foot pain. You can make a plantar fasciitis oil rub with it and enjoy many of its benefits. It is great for pain and inflammation, elevated mood, better skin care, and so on. It is especially effective for rheumatic pain.
3) Turmeric Essential Oil
Botanical name: Curcuma longa
- Turmeric is a plant related to ginger. It can also regulate the body’s response to inflammation and decrease it. Turmeric essential oil can also soothe the heat and redness of inflammation.
- It is a strong antioxidant that scavenges for free radicals.
- Turmeric is one of the best essential oils for heel pain and even heel spurs. It was shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects. It is also a good antinociceptive. This means that it can reduce sensitivity to painful stimuli. In other words, Turmeric can strengthen your pain threshold (analgesic).
- The oil of Turmeric is also able to promote the regeneration of the damaged tissue.
- High amounts of the oil, used on long periods of time, can be neurotoxic.
- It can also cause miscarriage.
- If you have asthma, do not use Turmeric oil without a doctor’s consent.
- The oil can also irritate the respiratory system.
Why I like it:
Turmeric essential oil for plantar fasciitis can help with other issue too. It can prevent intestinal parasites and stimulate bile production. More bile means a better digestion of food and fats, in general.
4) Clove Essential Oil
Botanical name: Eugenia caryophyllata
- One reputed home remedy for plantar fasciitis is Clove oil. Its powers to sedate and relieve pain are mostly known in oral problems. Dentists use it in their cabinets, and studies support this beneficial effect. Eugenol is the main component of Clove oil. This molecule acts just like lidocaine, a known local anesthetic. In other words, using Clove essential oil for heel pain can block pain messages sent to the brain.
- One study showed that Clove oil can soothe inflammation and help the tissue regenerate and remodel itself. It’s also a powerful antifungal and antispasmodic, which helps relax muscle spasms.
- It can severely irritate the respiratory system and burn the skin. It needs dilution before topical use or diffusion.
- Clove oil should not be used with anticoagulant medications.
- High amounts can be toxic to the liver.
Why I like it:
Clove oil for plantar fasciitis is a strong substance. You can use only a few drops per blend and feel it working. It has a strong aroma thanks to its high eugenol content. It’s also great at preventing viral infections.
Other good essential oils for plantar fasciitis pain:
- Sweet Birch
- Bay Laurel
- Roman Chamomile
- Cinnamon bark
- Cinnamon Cassia
- Black Pepper
An infused oil, high in capsaicin is also great as pain reliever for plantar fasciitis. You can read more about it in this article on trigeminal neuralgia.
If you’re a doTERRA fan and you’re looking for their essential oils for foot pain, you have a few options. You can use the individual doTERRA essential oils, or you can try their Deep Blue blend.
I’ve reviewed it in depth and all its component oils can help with pain and inflammation. Thus, the doTERRA Deep Blue would work just well for plantar fasciitis.
For the Young Living fans, I’ve seen their PanAway blend. It contains all the right essential oils for plantar fasciitis pain. This makes the PanAway oil blend useful for plantar fasciitis and other foot pain conditions.
How to Use plus Essential Oil Recipes for Plantar Fasciitis
1) The best way of feeling pain relief with essential oil remedies is through topical use. You’ll have to apply a blend locally so it can act directly on the source of pain.
No aromatic oil should be applied undiluted to the skin! They can burn or sensitize the skin this way.
You have carrier or vegetable oils that can help you dilute the potency of the aromatic essences. They’ll disperse the oil molecules evenly, on a larger skin area.
For therapeutic purposes, essential oil recipes for plantar fasciitis should be used 2 – 4 times a day. You can mix one or up to 4 essences per blend. More essences will make the blend more potent. Too many though, would not work as well.
Some sources suggest using a 50 – 50 concentration (carrier + essential oil). The most you can use in topical Aromatherapy is 5%. 1% means 6 drops per Oz carrier, thus 30 drops at the most for the most concentrated pain blend.
I suggest starting low and increasing the amount progressively. Some essences however, must not be used in more than 2.5% (Wintergreen and Birch). You should always do your research on the oils you intend to use.
It’s important to know the right dosage for the treatment to work. A doctor is usually needed to get it right. It depends on medical history, gender, general health, allergies, etc.
Topical application of essential oils for heel pain and plantar fasciitis, plus massage techniques work great together. The massage itself combined with anti-inflammatory essential oils can:
- Heat the affected spot.
- Improve blood circulation.
- Boost collagen production (Cinnamon bark oil, Aloe Vera, etc.).
- Inhibit pain receptors.
- Calm down redness, swelling and inflammation in the tissue.
In other words, a massage can help the oils penetrate the skin deeper and faster. Heat is a very good pain reliever. It can also open up the skin pores and sweat glands so the oils can enter and reach the affected area.
Good Massage Techniques for Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief
- You can rub the painful area with essential oils for foot pain.
- Or, you can apply gentle pressure on that area.
- You can twist and jerk the skin around the sole of the foot.
- Rub your Achilles tendon with the blend as well. When you sit on your tiptoes, the tendon stretches and tightens indirectly. This indirect communication may help improve or treat the inflammation of the fascia.
All these massage movements/techniques should last about 10 minutes, every time.
Doctors often prescribe physiotherapy and home stretches to maintain the plantar fascia elastic and in shape. Stretches should also be part of your recovery. But what exercises are good for plantar fascia, you ask?
- You can start by lifting on to your toes and keeping the position for 15 – 20 seconds. Get back to normal position, relax and repeat for at least 10 minutes, each day. This should take place 4 – 5 times a day or at least every time you use essential oils for plantar fascia.
- Use a tennis or golf ball and roll your feet on it to stimulate the blood circulation. Take it slowly and put gentle pressure.
Plantar Fasciitis Rollerball Aroma Recipe
- 10 ml rollerball
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 2 drops
- Clove essential oil: 2 drops
- Turmeric essential oil: 2 drops
- Jojoba oil
Add the essential oil drops into the roll-on bottle then top off with Jojoba oil. Give it a good shake and apply on the affected area.
Rollerball bottles are very practical. They don’t make any mess and they’re ready to use and carry around at all times. You can find lots of other different blend recipes for roll-on bottles here.
Plantar Fasciitis Essential Oil Rub Recipe
- Ginger essential oil: 9 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 9 drops
- Coconut oil: 1 Oz (30 ml)
Coconut is solid at room temperature but it melts very easily. Melt the necessary quantity, add the oils and give it a good stir. Let the blend harden and use as ointment for easier application.
Essential Oil Recipe for Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain
- Helichrysum essential oil: 1 drop
- Wintergreen essential oil: 1 drop
- Frankincense essential oil: 1 drop
- Tamanu oil: 1 teaspoon
Mix the oils well and apply 2 – 5 times a day.
2) Another good way of using essential oils for heel pain and plantar fasciitis is a foot soak. It allows for the oils to penetrate into the skin and reach the painful area.
A foot soak is also very relaxing for the mind the body. The oils can take away a lot of the constant tension from your feet.
Foot Soak Recipe for Plantar Fasciitis
- Really hot water (about 45 C/113 F)
- Epsom/Himalayan salt: 2 tablespoons
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 6 drops
- Ginger essential oil: 6 drops
Mix the oils with the salt and add the mixture to the hot water. Stir until it melts. Dip your feet into the basin and relax for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the water starts to cool off.
You could also try alternating between really hot and really cold/freezing water. Move your feet from one basin to another, after keeping them there for a couple of minutes.
The best home remedy for plantar fasciitis may vary from person to person. The results usually depend on the level of damage to the fascia.
Tips to Prevent or Halt Plantar Fasciitis Progression
Once you’ve recovered enough to lead a normal, painless life you can start making sure it won’t happen again.
Even if you didn’t suffer from plantar fasciitis in the past, you can still take prevention measures. Especially as you start to age, the fascia needs to be kept in optimal shape.
- Wear appropriate shoes that support the arch and absorb the shocks. The heels especially, can be protected with special soles or ring-shaped heels. These shoes need to be adapted to the type of activity/sports you’re doing.
- Exercise and stretch regularly to keep the plantar fascia flexible.
- Strengthen the calf (lower leg) muscles to take body weight pressure off your heels.
- Maintain a healthy weight to avoid overworking the plantar fascia.
- Don’t hesitate to seek the counsel of a physiotherapist. He can help you find the best preventive measures and choose the right shoes for your lifestyle.
- Rest a lot. Plantar fasciitis or heel pain and heel spurs need a lot of time to heal.
- Learn how to make a plantar relief bandage to speed up recovery should fasciitis occur again. The plantar bandage or taping technique is also an effective method of relieving fasciitis pain and inflammation.
For the plantar taping technique, you’ll need:
- Elastic band or medical tape.
- Commercial wax
Check out how a doctor does it:
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms & Causes, Plantar Warts and Safety Words
The plantar fascia is the tendon that connects the toes to the heels. It is constantly under pressure and traction. At times, this can lead to tears and micro-trauma. Once they happen, an inflammation sets in, which is known as plantar fasciitis.
The symptom is mainly pain in the affected heel. This pain usually aggravates once you stand. It happens because the feet must sustain all your weight. It slowly diminishes after an hour, but not completely.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes
The exact cause of this painful condition or syndrome is not yet known. However, there are many contributing factors.
- Sudden pull.
- Progressive stress on the plantar fascia.
- Heel fracture.
- Compressed plantar nerves.
- Flat feet.
- Valgus knees.
- Standing for long hours every day and lifting heavy objects.
- Overweight and obesity.
- Loss of elasticity in the plantar fascia, given by the age.
- Wearing improper or worn-out shoes.
- Certain sports, like running marathons.
- An improper warm up before working out.
Contrary to popular belief, plantar fasciitis is not caused by heel spurs. They are present in some cases, especially in people with heel pain.
But they’re not the cause. Most likely, the heel spurs are the consequence of chronic and long-term inflammation in the plantar fascia.
The heel spur is a bone mound found in the heel bone, right near the beginning of the plantar fascia. That’s why they’re usually mixed up. A heel spur may be seen in an X-ray.
If you’re interested in reading more about bone spurs and their natural remedies, you can find it all here. Some of the best essential oils for heel spurs are:
- Juniper berry
- Lemon Eucalyptus
- Bay Laurel
One of the most frequently asked questions related to plantar fasciitis is about plantar warts. Many people have them and want to know how to get rid of plantar wart on their feet.
A quick look at this British Medical Journal article, tells us that:
- Warts are caused by a virus.
- Plantar warts can be contracted in pools and changing rooms. The virus attaches itself to an open wound in the plantar tissue.
- The incubation time from infection to wart formation is 1 – 6 months.
- A wart may not develop at all, if the immune system of the person is very strong.
- The wart can come back, there’s no immunity to it if you had it once.
- It can be killed by intense heat and cold.
- Antiviral drugs don’t work.
- Mosaic warts are the most resistant type of warts. They are not painful though. If it aches, it’s most probably a common wart, easier to cure.
- If your plantar wart becomes very tender, it’s a good sign. It is an indication of spontaneous cure, which is very common (20% cases).
- The most basic treatment of plantar warts should include tight bounds of a sticking plaster. It should be renewed weekly. Soak a cotton-wool/pad with an antiviral essential oil and strap it onto the wart overnight.
What essential oils are good for plantar warts? They are usually highly potent antiviral essences. They can be:
- Cinnamon bark
- Cinnamon Cassia
- Clove bud
- Tea Tree
If you’re wondering what does a plantar wart on the foot look like, the answer is just like any other wart. It is a hard prominence that looks whitish or skin colored. Find out more about warts and how to remove them.
Safety Words for Using Aromatherapy Oils
Although natural, essential oils can be dangerous too. This danger is usually given when large amounts are used, on a long period of time.
Some of them may also interfere with medication. Check out these precautions to prevent unnecessary complications:
- Each new oil bottle must be tested for allergies. Mix a drop of EO with a drop of carrier and rub your inner forearm with it. If no redness, itchiness or irritation occur, the oil should be safe. There are many factors that can influence the chemical profile of the oil, from batch to batch.
- As a general rule, essential oils must not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women. They need to ask for their doctor’s permission first.
- Avoid using aromatic oils on children and elderly people without medical consent.
- If you suffer from asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, etc., you must also talk to a doctor first.
- Research each oil to see what are its interactions and side effects.
Healing plantar fasciitis with essential oils may take a long time. The good news is that it’s not impossible and you don’t have to undergo any surgery. You’ll still have to take serious measures to recover and prevent a new tear in the plantar fascia.
Luckily, the prevention or recovery measures are quite easy. It can be a lot more enjoyable to deal with plantar fasciitis because of essential oils.
Some of the best essential oils for plantar fasciitis are Ginger and Turmeric, Eucalyptus and Clove, Lavender, etc. Which one you choose depends on a few factors. Your preference and current health condition are one of the factors. Also, whether you take medicines or not can influence the treatment results.
Have you ever had to deal with plantar fasciitis before? Did essential oils help or is it something you’re just discovering?