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The unpleasant and subjective sensation resulting from a noxious sensory stimulus defines the phenomenon of pain. The podiatric physician is no stranger to the difficulties in achieving optimal pain therapy. Podiatric physicians must develop analgesic regimens to treat patients with acute, chronic, and postoperative pain. Because opioid therapy is the cornerstone of the pharmacologic management of acute and chronic pain, this review focuses on the prescribing of opioid analgesics to treat lower-extremity pain. The pharmacology of frequently prescribed opioids is introduced. Then, criteria for selecting appropriate opioid analgesics as found in the current medical literature are reported. Finally, a review of the literature describing legal and ethical considerations regarding the prescribing of opioid analgesics is presented. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(4): 367–373, 2006)