What are the Most Painful Places to Get Tattooed?

Tattoos that hurt

Tattoos and pain go hand in hand. Most tattoos hurt, even if you have a very high pain tolerance the best you can do is simply block it out. Piercings, blood work, and even childbirth are all compared to the pain of getting tattooed. The fact is that they all hurt, and telling you otherwise won’t make any difference to whether or not you get it done. If you want that tattoo bad enough you’ll sit through the tattoo pain, even if you complain a little.

If you’re thinking about getting your first tattoo then pain is definitely a factor. Some spots are bony, some have more fat, and others are full of nerve endings. Be prepared for the pain but be prepared to suck it up as well. Unless you want a half-finished piece!

Inside Arm

This is a fairly common place to get tattooed but it’s also pretty painful. The reason for this is that the skin on the inside of your arm is quite delicate and doesn’t get a lot of damage. It doubly hurts because your shoulder has to be up and open and chances are your hand is going to fall asleep too. But it’s definitely not the worst!


The back of your knee has a bundle of nerve endings in it and it’s also a spot many people are ticklish. Not only do you have to get around that reflex there are no muscles there to cover the bone or cartilage which is why it’s so sensitive! Ouch! This is a tough spot for sure but it’s not a common one to get tattooed unless you’re planning a whole leg sleeve. Not a good place to get your first tattoo either!


Like the knee, the elbow joint is nice and bony with nothing protecting it. The issue with the inside elbow is that there’s also lots of nice nerve endings and delicate skin, but the outside has no protection from the vibration of the machine so you’ll feel it deep. The elbow also has a tendency to swell a lot which makes for an achy and uncomfortable healing experience.


A common one for girls to get tattooed, feet might but might not be painful. There’s a lot of different areas to the foot. Some are more sensitive than others. The bottom of the foot is impossible to tattoo so you want to stay above that “line” where your skin changes on the side. The inside arch is full of nerve endings and very sensitive, as is the bony area around the ankle. If you stick to the top portion of your foot however, it’s pretty reasonable.


This isn’t a common spot to get tattooed at all, and with good reason. The throat is sensitive and it makes it hard to breathe while getting tattooed. Many people get the side of the neck done instead because it’s a little less painful. There are tons of nerve endings and delicate skin on the throat plus your artist is pressing on your chest and it’s quite an intimate tattoo. It hurts, but is it the worst?

As far as the most common places to get tattooed go, most beginners opt for something easy and then move on. The ribs are often referred to as the most painful place, but it’s the more unusual spots like the back of the knee and the throat that really win prizes. Genital tattoos are much less common and obviously the most painful.

If you really want that tattoo and you think you can handle it then go for it. The pain will fade and you’ll still have an awesome tattoo.

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