This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
When the Cowboys receiver first appeared on the team's injury report with a bruised heel, I suggested the injury might actually be plantar fasciitis. Cooper recently admitted he was dealing with a "form of plantar fasciitis." However, another wrinkle in the situation was added when it was later reported the root of the problem may not be the plantar fascia but one of the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
The plantar fascia is a collection of thick connective tissue that originates at the heel and runs the length of the bottom of the foot. It protects the area, while supporting and stabilizing the arches of the foot. It is designed to help divert stress placed on the foot but can become irritated or inflamed if over-stretched or torn. Inflammation in the area is referred to as plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia also protects the underlying muscles of the sole of foot. The intrinsic muscles of the foot are divided into four distinct layers. These muscles control movement of the foot and toes while working synergistically with the plantar fascia to support the arches of the foot. The extent of this relationship appears complex, as studies have revealed that weak intrinsics likely contributes to plantar fasciitis. As a result, it seems debating on the true nature of Cooper's injury might be semantics at this point. However, it's likely a chronic condition and should be expected to linger even when Cooper does return to the field. As a result, the