Custom-Fitted Orthotics: Why You Need Them

Last week I picked up my first pair of orthotics ever from Dr. David Rudnick at the Chiropractic & Sports Rehabilitation Institute in Boynton Beach. As I’ve said before, I never had any aches or pains in high school so never really considered using them. However, with a recent string of injuries (knee, foot, etc.), I figured it was a great time to start. And Dr. Rudnick suggested them – having worked on my foot numerous times and seen the results of nearly two decades of running on an extremely high arch.

So with this post, I hope to share my feedback on Week One with my new orthotics and answer some common questions!!

Why custom-fit orthotics? Rather than the store-bought versions? 
This is is a question I have gotten from a few of my students since showing up at practice with my new “feet.” And it’s a question that I found all over the internet. Custom-fit orthotics are exactly that…specifically made, measured, and fit to your feet. In fact, when Dr. Rudnick fit me for the orthotics, questions such as “How much do you run,” “What surfaces do you typically run on,” and “What part of your foot do you typically land on,” are all asked, in addition to the foam box casting. This should answer the question of “which to buy” in itself. The custom-fit orthotics are made for your feet and your feet alone. When you purchase orthotics out of the machine in the store – you can only be fit into the ones stocked – option A, B, C or D.

I asked Dr. Rudnick this question and he explained that while some people can get away with store-bought orthotics, it’s not the norm. “One of the available options stored in the machine may be the right match for you, but they can’t be right for everyone,” Rudnick said. “Unfortunately they can’t stock everyone’s specific foot needs. That’s where custom-fit orthotics come in. They do fit your specific needs.”

Watch the custom-fitted orthotics foam box casting here.

From my research on many websites, the only negatives listed next to custom-fit orthotics were: the time it takes between ordering and receiving the orthotics (for me – it was 10 days) and the cost (they are a few hundred dollars so more expensive than the store-bought version – but you get what you pay for as they say)!

How do they feel?
Since picking my new orthotics up and fitting them into my shoes to wear, I have gotten used to the feeling very quickly. It almost feels as though I have an extra bump in my shoe where the space under my arch used to be. And I like the feeling – the rubbing feels as though I am receiving a massage on the bottom of my foot with each step. Dr. Rudnick suggested I only wear the orthotics for a few hours at a time the first few days – until I get used to them. So while I did this at first, I quickly realized how much I enjoyed wearing them and ironically switched from wearing sandals everywhere to putting on my sneakers (with orthotics fit inside of course).

So with orthotics in, and my training hopefully back to normal over the next few weeks…I will continue to update you on how I feel. Feel free to write in any questions you have for me or Dr. David Rudnick and I will get them answered ASAP.

Learn more a bout Dr. Rudnick’s practice here: Chiropractic & Sports Rehabilitation Institute.

Coach Rick Rothman Named 2012 National Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year

I am so very proud to announce that my high school coach, my mentor and my friend Coach Rick Rothman, has been named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) 2012 National Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year. The award, which was bestowed upon him last night in Fargo, ND, celebrates Coach Rothman’s three decades of commitment to the sport, his athletes and running in general. I can speak from experience and say that Coach Rothman deserves this award more than anyone else. His dedication to his runners is unparalleled. We (I include myself in this sentiment) are and always will be his first priority. I truly believe he helped mold me into the runner I was (back in high school and that I’ve always continued to strive to be) and the person I am. Thank you Coach Rothman from the bottom of my heart!

Read the full article that I wrote about him for the West Palm Beach Running & Fitness Examiner here. And please share around. He deserves not only the award but all the recognition that comes with it as well!

Attention Jewish Athletes: Here’s Your Chance to Make the “Olympic” Team

I wrote a week or so ago about my personal return to Israel in 2013 for the Maccabi Games. I will be competing as part of the Women’s Half Marathon and couldn’t be more excited! Looking to add to my four bronze medals from my first foray into International competition in 1997. Read the full blog post I wrote here.

In honor of the Maccabi Games and for my Examiner West Palm Beach Running & Fitness writer position, I interviewed Rob Fellman, Chairman of the Maccabi USA Track & Field and Half Marathon. I’ve known Rob for quite some time. He’s also a fellow former Spanish River High School athlete. (Small world, huh?) Anyway – here’s the full article where you can learn more about Rob; how he first got involved with the Maccabi Games; how you can potentially make the Jewish Olympic team; and how you can support the athletes and organization! Read the full piece here.

And as always, please share with friends and family who may be interested!

Interested in supporting my personal trip to Israel? Visit my fundraising page here.


South Floridian Triathlete (Shannon Coates) Featured in National Timex Ads

For those of you from South Florida, who have followed the high school cross country scene…you’ll know the name Catherine Coates very well. Catherine is my close friend and was my teammate at Spanish River High School during our junior and senior year Cross Country seasons (1998 and 1999). I’ll update you on how Catherine is doing now in a later post. However, I wanted to give you an update on her little sister Shannon Coates – an up-and-coming triathlete already getting noticed by the big advertisers and brands (like Timex, PowerBar and more).

Click here to read up on my interview with Shannon from a recent Examiner article. Enjoy!

South Florida: Your Olympic connection may be closer than you think

With the 2012 London Olympics less than a week away, states and cities around the United States are clamoring for their very own hometown stars. And Florida is no different. So let’s get to it. Who’s who in the Olympics? Who calls Florida home? And who gives us the best chance of ‘bumping into a gold medalist? Consider this a Florida fan’s guide to the Olympics.

  • The United States Olympic Committee announced its 530-member team (of course with some last minute changes apt to happen).
  • 31 of the 530 (or 5.8%) call the Sunshine state home; many more have roots on Florida.
  • The majority of the Florida athletes are competing in sailing, followed by track and field, swimming, and tennis.
  • The most famous of the Floridans include Olympian Ryan Lochte from Daytona Beach, and Sanya Richards-Ross from Fort Lauderdale. Lochte is a six-time medalist in swimming and is favored in the 200-meter freestyle. Richards-Ross is a track star (formerly of St. Thomas Aquinas High School) and favored in the 400 meters.

To see a full list of athletes with South Floridaconnections (including the sport they will compete in; their personal South Florida connection; the country they are competing for; and exactly when you can see them compete), view my recent Examiner article here.

Returning To Israel

Melissa at Maccabiah Games in Israel (1997)
Competing on the Track at the Maccabiah Games in Israel (1997).

I’m thrilled to announce that I have made the 19th Maccabiah Games USA team – heading to Israel during the summer of 2013! I will be competing in the Women’s Half-Marathon and couldn’t be more excited! This will in fact be my second time competitively running in Israel. I first ran there as part of the Maccabiah Games Track & Field Juniors team in 1997 – when I won four bronze medals for Team USA! Even more exciting is the fact that my dad also competed in the Games back in 1973 – also as a Track & Field athlete. (He won a gold medal with his relay team.)

Stay tuned for more information on the games, interviews with the people that make it happen behind the scenes, updates on my training leading up to the games, and of course news and updates from Israel next summer — right here on

In the meantime, you can donate to my campaign to get me to Israel by visiting here.

Thanks in advance!


WPB Examiner Article: Hits 500-Member Mark

I’ve talked about my involvement with many times and how I credit the casual running group for getting me back into running over the past few years. Well apparently I’m not the only one loving the group and experience of attending runs and social gatherings! Now, there are more than 500 others!

Read up on how and why first got started, what the secret to its success is, and how you can get involved and join us for an upcoming run…by reading my most recent West Palm Beach Running & Fitness Examiner article here.

And don’t forget to share the article with friends; the group is aiming to hit 1,000 members next! Go!