Dealing with chronic heel pain from Plantar Fasciitis isn’t easy. And some of the treatments Google may have offered you don’t look like a walk in the park either. The side effects from potential treatments like steroids, prescription medication to reduce inflammation, or even surgery sound as bad as the pain itself (and that’s saying something!)
Many people (and with good reason) have turned to alternative treatments for Plantar Fasciitis–ones that don’t involve gnarly side effects. And essential oils tops the list of one of the most popular methods of treating Plantar Fasciitis.
Can essential oils be used to treat Plantar Fasciitis? What does the research say?
Keep reading to find out!
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Essential Oils Used to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Frankincense, peppermint, lemongrass oil, and grapeseed oil are a few of the most popular essential oils for treating Plantar Fasciitis. Numerous blog posts and social media pages tout the benefits of these oils for heel pain–and you’ll find many people excited to tell you more about these supposed cures.
Typically, the cure involves ingesting the essential oils in capsule form, mixing the oils in some combination and applying directly to the inflamed heel tissue, massaging the oils into the affected area, or a combination of the above. Some essential oil combinations may simply come under the name “Pain Away.” Some proponents insist that the results are rapid, while others prescribe continuous use for best results.
What the Research Says
Unfortunately, there isn’t any actual research to back back up claims that essential oils can be used to effectively treat the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis. And while it can be tempting to believe anecdotes about cures that come from using essential oils alone, understanding the dynamics of what’s actually happening to cause Plantar Fasciitis can shed some light on the reasons that research to back up such claims isn’t forthcoming.
Plantar Fasciitis is caused by wear and strain to the fascia (the fleshy area between the heel and ball of your foot). Small tears and inflammation develop over time due to improper support of the arch (or fascia), which causes the hallmark symptom of Plantar Fasciitis, heel pain.
In other words, because Plantar Fasciitis is caused and exacerbated by a lack of support of the arch and strain to the tissues in the fascia, the most successful cure and treatment is to strengthen, cushion, and better support the base of the ligament.
The Good News on Essential Oils
The good news is, if you suffer from heel pain and want to experiment with essential oils, there are very few risks or negative side effects associated with these oils (as long as they’re used as intended. Some essential oils can cause allergic reactions or rashes if used without diluting them first).
While there is no research investigating essential oils as a potential cure for plantar fasciitis, there is research to support some of the general benefits of these oils. For example, German researchers have found that boswellic acid, found in frankincense, interferes with the inflammatory process, thereby reducing inflammatory reactions.
This does not mean that essential oils are proven to cure Plantar Fasciitis, but it is easy to understand potential benefits of oils that may have natural anti-inflammatory properties on this condition.
And, if you happen to love the smell and feel of essential oils (because there are some amazing options), incorporating them into a light massage for your feet, or simply using them in a diffuser or on your pulse points to make you feel more calm or inspired mentally is a great idea. The mind-body connection is a powerful one, and if you find relief and tranquility from using essential oils, by all means continue to use them!
Other Natural Options for Plantar Fasciitis Relief
If you’re not ready to try essential oils to treat your plantar fasciitis, or if you tried it without success, there are many other natural options for plantar fasciitis relief. Home remedies for Plantar Fasciitis like these stretches and simple exercises can make a major impact in the amount of pain you feel on a daily basis (especially in the morning). Before you decide on any treatment method, give them a try–you might find that they’re all you need! Another remedy that many people find success with is simply icing their feet regularly to reduce inflammation.
If exercising, stretching, and icing isn’t enough to keep your Plantar Fasciitis symptoms at bay, there are affordable products that stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities, which are an easy and non-invasive alternative to medical treatments. The best part? Because treatments like essential oils, orthotic inserts, and icing are so affordable and low-risk, you can try any combination of them and find what works best for you.