What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot ailment that triggers pain in one or both heels. It occurs when the plantar fascia ligaments of the feet become inflamed or injured. The plantar fascia serve as natural shock absorbers for the feet.
Signs and Symptoms
Five common symptoms are associated with plantar fasciitis. These symptoms include the following:
- Heel pain – most often felt during the first part of the day or in the morning.
- Joint and bone pain – pain that worsens after carrying heavy items or exercise activities.
- Foot tenderness – often accompanied by swelling.
- Pain while walking – causing it difficult to conduct everyday tasks or assume a normal gait.
- An easing up of the pain – when the patient stops repetitive movements or exercise for a specific period.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Inflammation is usually the main cause of heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis. This pain comes about as the result of degenerative changes in the fascia tissue of the foot. This tissue supports the arches of the feet and bears the body’s weight and pressure. Plantar fascia are elastic and connect the metatarsal bones, or heel bones, to the toes.
Plantar fasciitis comes about from very tiny micro-tears in the fascia as the result of overuse or an injury. This leads to inflammation and a fluid buildup known as perifascial edema. As the micro-tears begin to heal, the heel pad thickens and loses its elasticity, including its ability to absorb shock.
The affected heel is no longer able to support the body’s weight. This type of process leads to recurring tissue damage, which affects collagen generation and produces ongoing swelling.
Some Facts about Plantar Fasciitis
- People who have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis are usually athletes or exercise enthusiasts. When tissues in the feet are overused, plantar fasciitis is often the result.
- Runners who use the wrong shoes when they run, frequently develop plantar fasciitis. Studies reveal that plantar fasciitis is the third most common injury among runners.
- Biomechanical problems with foot alignment can also lead to the development of plantar fasciitis. Examples of biomechanical problems include over-pronation, or reduced ankle flexion, as the result of a tight Achilles tendon.
- People who are overweight place a great deal of pressure on the heel and often experience plantar fasciitis.
- Beginning an exercise program too rapidly can lead to heel inflammation.
- A medical history of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, or diabetes can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.
- Plantar fasciitis is often confused with heel spurs. Both of these conditions are not one and the same. A heel spur is basically the presence of an additional protrusion on the heel. Plantar fasciitis is an inflamed plantar fascia.
- Experts believe that plantar fasciitis is brought on primarily by over-training, the aging process, excessive foot pronation, or a poor form while exercising.
- Studies reveal that about 33% of people with plantar fasciitis experience pain in both feet.
Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis
Unfortunately, we do not have any scientific research to conform the claims that any essential oils can effectively treat Plantar Fasciitis and its symptoms. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that essential oils can be a great benefit in easing the discomfort and pain.
If you are one of the many people who suffer from this painful condition, there is good news. If you want to experiment with one of the following essential oils, there are very few side effects as long as use them with care. It is important that you dilute the oils with a carrier oil before applying them to your skin to avoid the risk of allergic reaction.
Although there is no evidence into the effects of these oils on plantar fasciitis specifically, there has been plenty of research into the overall benefits of these oils. Scientists looking into the medical properties of essential oils have found that many have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which could benefit people suffering from the condition.
A number of essential oils can assist in relieving the pain of plantar fasciitis and assist a patient in recovering from the inflammation. The conventional treatments used for curing plantar fasciitis include rest, taking painkillers, and stretching. For severe cases, patients often resort to physiotherapy or the injections of steroids. In advanced cases, some patients opt for surgery.
If you want to avoid some of the more advanced treatments, you could do worse than trying to treat the condition with essential oils. Many essential oils have excellent anti-inflammatory, circulatory and analgesic properties that can ease your discomfort and pain. If you would like to treat your condition at home with essential oil, the following oils represent the best choices.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile and popular of all the essential oils. It is used in a variety of ways to treat a range of physical and emotional ailments and may well be of use to people battling with plantar fasciitis.
According to a study published in 2015, lavender oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties making it a potential treatment for inflammation and pain resulting form inflammation. (1)
Dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil in a suitable carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil then massage the mixture into your heels and the bottom of the feet. Alternatively, make a soothing foot bath by adding 5 or 6 drops of lavender oil to a tub of warm water and soak your feet in it for 20 minutes or so.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is another extremely popular and versatile oil used for a number of physical conditions. Studies have demonstrated that this oil has outstanding anti-inflammatory properties while it also has analgesic and warming effects. (2)
Peppermint essential oil is highly concentrated so it is important that you dilute it well in your chosen carrier oil before massaging it into your heels and feet. Many people with plantar fasciitis find that applying the oil before bed helps relieve the pain and discomfort they feel and helps them sleep much more soundly.
While not as popular as peppermint oil, wintergreen essential oil has similar anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects that can relieve inflammation and ease pain. This makes it a suitable option for people trying to deal with the pain of plantar fasciitis as well as people with muscle aches and pains.
Wintergreen essential oil must be dilutes with a carrier oil before being applied topically to your skin.
Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil is widely known for its many uses on the skin but its benefits actually go quite a lot further. Geranium essential oil also has good anti-inflammatory properties making it useful for people with painful inflammatory conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Try applying diluted geranium essential oil to the bottom of your feet every day or for even greater effect combine it with a stronger acting oil like frankincense or peppermint.
Frankincense Essential Oil
The history of frankincense in medicine goes back thousands of years but more recently studies have discovered that it contains excellent medicinal properties. Frankincense essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils for people suffering from plantar fasciitis thanks to its excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions.
According to studies, the boswellic acid, present in frankincense, reduces the inflammatory response by interfering with the inflammatory process. (3)
So what are you waiting for? If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, do yourself and your poor heels a favor and massage some of the diluted oil into your feet twice a day. We are sure you will notice the difference.
Basil may be most famous for its uses in the kitchen but the herb has a number of surprising health benefits especially when it is harvested for its wonderful essential oil. Basil essential oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties as well as stimulant effects that can be of great benefit when trying to treat the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Helichrysum flowers are fragrant and beautiful to look at but they can also benefit your body in a number of ways too. Thanks to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties, helichrysum essential oil may help ease the pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis. The oil also has anti-spasmodic actions helping to prevent spasms in a person’s feet.
Helichrysum oil is relatively mild and gentle acting so we recommend blending it with a more powerful essential oil like peppermint or frankincense to receive its full benefits.
Black Pepper Oil
Black pepper oil has the sort of warming effect when applied topically that you would expect from an oil derived from the spicy plant. It has excellent anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and circulatory actions that can help treat the symptoms of plantar fasciitis very effectively.
Make sure that you dilute this essential oil with a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil before massaging it into your feet.
Lemongrass essential oil is one of my personal favorites and we actually make our own at home. Speaking from personal experience, lemongrass essential oil has a very soothing effect on inflammation and pain caused by arthritis and I would expect it to have a similar effect on plantar fasciitis.
This wonderful oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties as well as mild analgesic effects that make it a great choice. Make sure that you dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it to your feet.
Birch essential oil is derived from the birch tree and comes packed with excellent medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions. It is also well known for its detoxifying properties all of which make it a great option for treating plantar fasciitis.
How to Use Essential Oils to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
To treat plantar fasciitis with essential oils, you first need to perform a series of stretches before you use the oils for massage. After the massage, you will need to perform more foot stretches.
You can use any of the oils we mentioned above alone or choose a blend of oils to massage. It is important to remember that you dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to your feet.
You can also use the oils in a healing foot soak. If these soaks are used daily, or at night, you will find that they offer a good deal of support.
To make a foot soak, you need a foot tub, hot water, and 3/4 cup of Epsom salts. You will need to combine 10 drops of peppermint oil, 10 drops of birch oil, 5 drops of marjoram, and 5 drops of geranium. After you combine the blend, fill the foot tub with hot water and dissolve the Epsom salts. Drop the blend of oils into the water. Sit in a chair and soak your feet for about 15 minutes. Do this once or twice a day.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
You should always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil. If you do not dilute your essential oils properly, you can end up with allergic reactions and skin burns. These negative side effects can happen over a period of time so you want to make sure that your oils are always diluted.
Adults should dilute their oils at either a .25%, .50%, 1%, or 2% dilution rate. A 1% dilution rate requires that you add one drop of essential oil to 100 drops of a carrier oil. This means that you should include one teaspoon of a carrier oil or six drops per ounce of a carrier oil. This dilution is suggested for use on facial skin.
A 2% dilution is recommended for anyone who is using an oil for full body applications, or when they add oils to oils, lotions, or creams.
The top carrier oils that are used for diluting essential oils include coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil.
essential oils are a potentially great way to relieve the pain and discomfort of planta fasciitis. You can use these anti-inflammatory oils in a foot soak or massage them into, your feet.
If you choose to massage essential oils into your skin, you will need to do stretches first. This is important, as stretching flexes the foot and allows it to receive the essential oils more easily. Essential oils that support the healing of plantar fasciitis usually possess antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.
You should always dilute the oils that you use when you are treating plantar fasciitis, as not taking this approach can lead to burns or irritations. You should never apply the oil “neat” or in its complete form without diluting it first. By taking preventative measures, you will find that your heel pain will subside without any bad side effects.
The best carrier oils used for dilution include jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil. Make sure that you know how much of the oil to include in a blend. Different rates of dilution are prescribed by alternative health care practitioners.
Normally, if you wish to apply the oil to your skin or massage it into your skin, you need to dilute the essential oil using a one percent dilution rate. If you wish to include the EO in a cream or lotion, you need to follow a two percent dilution rate.
Essential oils, when mixed properly, are found to be great pain relievers and antispasmodics for anyone suffering from a foot inflammation. Just make sure that you follow other preventative measures, such as stretching, when you are using the oils. Massage the oils into the feet or use them in a foot bath to obtain the relief that you need.
When you use essential oil products, you will find that any foot care problem can be alleviated by following trusted methods and steps. You just need to know how to dilute the oils and learn what oils are best for your specific foot condition. Doing so will reap you good results, both mentally and physically.
Essential oils have proven to be effective in curing foot pain and are also calming for people. They offer both mental and physical relief for anyone suffering from a painful foot condition.