Top Ten Most Painful Places to get a Tattoo – Part II

Top Ten Most Painful Places to get a Tattoo – Part II

5. Elbow tattoos 

The elbow might be a small part of your body. However, anyone who has ever banged their ‘funny bone’ against a sharp surface knows it can pack a punch. Of course, what you hit is not really a bone at all, but the ulnar nerve, that tells your brain what is going on with your fourth and fifth fingers. All the nerves that innervate the lower arm and hand need to pass by the elbow. Without any particular cushioning to speak of, that makes for a high-sensitivity cocktail. However, if its part of your magnificent full-sleeve plans, it might be worth suffering through. 

Hand tattoo
By George from the Hagley Road studio

6. Hands and fingers 

The tops of the hands as well as fingers are popular places to get tattooed, and not without reason. They can be incredibly effectual, stylish, and nearly always on display. However, they also offer up very thin skin and, yep, all that bone sitting close to the surface without too much fascia, fat or muscle to soften the impact of the needle. Hands also have a high concentration of sensory nerves. Think of everything you experience when touching a surface or another human being. Those amazing tactile qualities and sensations also mean that the experience of pain will be somewhat amplified. 

7. Knee caps and back of knee

Similar to the elbow, the knee is a joint that connects the upper and the lower leg, thus, it houses a lot of nerves communicating between your lower extremities and your brain. Do we need to mention the needle-to-bone action again? Of course, it does not really hit the bone, but with so little separating the dermis from it, it might as well be. Sensations may spread through the ligaments running up and down towards muscle, ranging from mildly ticklish to pretty darn uncomfortable. 

Knee tattoo
By Sean from Vivid Ink Birmingham

The back of the knee has notoriously thin skin. This is why you can sometimes see people with full leg sleeves but the back of their knees are left naked. It takes a special kind of courage. But when you have that area tattooed everybody will definitely recognise the effort and bravery that went into it. 

8. Shins and ankles 

Most people opt for smaller pieces on their ankles. And that’s a good thing, especially if you don’t enjoy pain. Often referred to as one of the most painful places to get a tattoo, however, some of the places on the ankle will be more painful than others. 

9. Top of the foot.  

Bone, bone, and bone. Did we say bone? The sides and bottom of the feet are a little more cushioned, but tattoos here are prone to fade quickly. Some artists won’t even work on them due to the uneven healing results. 

10.  Bonus: genitals

Let’s just say that the ability to feel pleasure equals the amount of pain. Unless you have a particular affinity for self-chosen torture, stay away.


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