Foot Tattoos: 5 Things To Think About Before You Get A Foot Tattoo

name-foot-tattoo-by-cwalker71.jpg Foot tattoos seem to be all the rage right now, everyone wants one!

And while tattoos that are tasteful can look really nice and make you feel attractive, you might want to reconsider before getting one on your foot.

There are a number of reasons that putting your tattoo somewhere else on your body may be a better idea than putting one on your foot…


#1 – The pain.

There is almost no muscle on your feet. In fact, it’s pretty much skin on top of bone, particularly on top of your foot.

Because of this, getting a foot tattoo can be extremely painful.

Some people even put foot tattoos on the bottom soles of the foot. This too, is incredibly painful.

So, if you are someone who does not like or cannot tolerate pain well, it’s probably a good idea to get your tattoo somewhere other than your foot.


#2 – The amount of space available on your foot.

Because there is not much space on your foot, you won’t be able to get a very large or a very detailed tattoo.

Also, tattoos on the foot are more likely to spread and blur, so that is another reason that choosing large or detailed designs isn’t such a good idea.

So, if you were thinking of getting a foot tattoo that was either large or detailed, then you may want to consider getting your tattoo elsewhere on your body.



#3 – Some tattoo artists won’t put tattoos on feet.

Because of the 2 concerns mentioned above, as well as others, some tattoo artists will not do foot tattoos at all.

They simply don’t want to be responsible if someone decides they don’t like the tattoo or if there are problems with infection, for example.


#4 – A foot tattoo can take from 2 to 3 weeks to fully heal.

And even then, it’s not a guarantee that the skin where the tattoo is won’t get infected.

You have to be very careful to keep a foot tattoo clean and sterile — which can be a drawback, especially if you work at a job that requires you to wear closed shoes.



#5 – It can be difficult to hold still while getting a foot tattoo.

The foot is a very sensitive area and just like the knee — where hitting it may sometimes elicit an uncontrolled reaction — the same is true of the foot.

Even if you are doing your best to hold still, there may be instances when the tattoo artist is doing the work that you make involuntary movements.

If you make an involuntary movement and cause the art to get mucked up, it may not be able to be fixed which could mean that you are stuck with a crummy looking tattoo on your foot for many years to come.


In the end, I love the way tattoos look when they are done tastefully and by a good artist, but I would hate to start to have one done on my foot and then because of a reflex action, end up with a tattoo I didn’t like.

While we all may agree that foot tattoos look really cool, I personally think there are enough disadvantages to getting them that I wouldn’t get one.



Some of my favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with living green, saving money, pregnancy, weddings, and dogs. When I'm not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.

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  • Audrey

    I just got a tattoo on my right foot two days ago, and it’s still in the process of healing. The tattoo hurt really, really bad, but I managed to stay still through the whole thing. My foot is still swollen, it swelled up about two times the size of normal and is very tender, but I hear this is normal. I also have my back done and it never swelled, so I got a little worried when my foot did. My back also didn’t leak any ink, like my foot has been doing, but I also hear that is normal. I had also used A&D ointment but my skin had a weird reaction to it, so I’m just using some scentless lotion, but it still seems my skin is kind of reacting to this as well. But I am pleased with the artwork and I’m excited for it to heal to see how it looks then 😀 I wouldn’t discourage anyone from getting a tattoo on their foot/feet. I would just say to make sure you take care of it and not let it get infected.

  • Liv

    i got a tattoo on my foot and it was my first one and i dont have a very high tolerance of pain but it didnt hurt that bad and i had no problem sitting still and it looks amazing i love my foot tattoo i also have one on my wrist and it hurt more than the foot but it still wasnt that bad. dont focus on the pain just block it out and concentrate on something else because the more u think about it the more it s gunna hurt

  • Akiyua

    my name is kiyua and i want to get a foot tattoo but i can not tolerate pain but im going to go head and get it

  • shanna

    i had my son’s name tattooed on my foot about 5 months ago & it was not that painful. any tattoo is going to be painful to a point but if you want one you grit your teeth & bare it. i want even stick myself to check my sugar but i will get a tatto go figure lol

  • e-lo

    I got quite a large sized tattoo on my calf, ankle and foot like just about a week ago and it hurt like hell it actually still does. This is my # 7 and I have never felt pain like this in my life. I actually had to quit and need to return to finish the color. My foot swelled up like blow fish, scabbed over really bad regardless of care and itches like crazy, with all that said. I love tattoos and tattoos on feet, especially on women can be quite striking and beautiful I love it regardless and will again bear the pain to finish it.

    To those that are unsure, think about it and once you decide get something that will express you in a artistic way. Make sure to take care of it, like you would a wound and let only a professional tattoo artist work on you and you will enjoy it for years to come.

  • jimmy

    yeah its sore but youll live.x

  • suzy

    i got a foot tattoo a couple months ago and one it doesnt hurt as bad as everyone makes it out to be, my tat takes my whole foot and came out beautifully for the size, yes you have reflexes as i experienced it but you do not kick all the way out like you do with your knee and you have a good artist they compensate for movement also one last thing get a tattoo because you want it and dont think that all these things listed should make you not get one find a good artist and go for and know if you want it bad enough the pain is worth it

  • Sammie

    i have a foot tattoo reaching from my ankle bone on my left foot all the way to my pinky toe.
    and honestly im someone who can tolerate pain. i have multiple tattoos and i will admit that my foot tattoo was the one that hurt the least. bone tattoos do hurt but i have come to notice that the most painful tattoos are where you have the most nerves and/or the thickest skin. i have a tattoo on the top of my back like the nape and then going along my spine and i honestly laughed the whole time cause i couldnt feel anything

    i have one on the right side of my abdomen and that one has to the the most painful one, not saying i cried cause it wasnt bad at ALL, but it was the most painful.

    i did not move whatsoever when i was getting the foot tattoo, but had the occasional twitch from the needle hitting the nerve. they are very prone for infection though because its so close to the ground and people dont clean their tattoos out. a spot on my tattoo did get infected (it seriously was one dot out of probably 30 or 40 connecting my starts together as in shooting stars) but it was because i stepped in rain water and wasnt able to clean it right away. the infection was easy to treat. used some triple antibiotic cream and it healed in less than a couple of days. the tattoo never peeled or scabbed but healed right away, (besides the one infected dot). the only back draw about foot tattoos are that you shouldn’t wear shoes that cover the area, or socks. this makes the tattoo harder to heal. best time to get this tattoo is in warm weather where you can were flip flops or sandals to help the healing.

  • Demi-Martine

    What kind of writing is the name ashley in ?

    • Lorin Hallam

      Did you get a reply about what kind of writing the name Ashley was in?

  • Ashley

    i have a tattoo on each of my feet… most of it is VERY painful depending on the spot. on top of your foot, SUPER painful. on the side off the bone, its almost like nothing. it is difficult to sit still b/c if it hits a certain spot it makes ur foot jerk n you dont realize it. i advise summertime although u cant be in the sun or swim in a pool for about 2 weeks to a month n if u get it burnt.. not fun.

  • Angel

    I want a foot tattoo but i don’t know if i can deal with all the pain and then i don’t i the fact if imy foot moves and the tattoo gets messed up…. im going to be upset

    • Muse_ic

      A good artist knows how to hold your foot properly so twitches would be mild, at best. As for the pain (i got mine yesterday). I was scared of all the hype about it being so painful. Not the case at all! My back piece hurt like madness! My foot was a piece of cake. The worst part was when it was over and my foot was throbbing from the swellinf. And that was fine in an hour our two! Go for it!

  • Amanda

    I just got my first tattoo on my foot. I don’t have a very high pain tolerance. I was very surprised- it hardly hurt! I was expecting something horrible I guess but it was not bad at all. I am already thinking about what to add to it! I wasn’t sure if I would be able to watch, but I wanted to watch the first part to make sure I didn’t jump. I watched the whole thing and it was no problem. Over quick and glad I did it!!

    • Lorin Hallam

      Hi Amanda, where abouts on the foot did you get your tattoo and what of? I am thinking for my first tattoo as well to be on my foot, my girls names are Ashley and Emily, and i want it similar to the picture that this post has but the butterfly in the middle and the girls names one on top and one at the bottom. But not a huge tattoo. What do you think?

  • Kishakana

    I have two foot tattoos and disagree with all of the above. My tattoos never got infected, I never had reflexes and it didn’t hurt at all. I’m a wimp when it comes to pain and I have seven tattoos and this was the least painful. If you want it, go for it.

  • madison

    I have a foot tattoo and it did not hurt at all and I am a huge baby when it comes to needles. I disagree with everything this page says. I had no problems at all and was not sore at all after. If you wash it and put lotion on it regularly you will be fine.

  • Ladybee45

    I just got a foot tattoo it wasn’t as painful as everyone made it out to be. I skinned my knee the day before & that hurts worse than the tat. I did twitch a bit but nothing like what is talked about in this article. It came out beautiful. Find a good artist. Keep it clean.

    • Nikiatoliver

      I got a tattoo on the top of my foot on a scale of 1-10 it was a 8, I can tolerate pain but it was more like annoying pain than hurt pain, my tattoo never got infected, I just kept lotion on it at all times

  • Amanda

    I just got my first tattoo on my foot 3 days ago. It did hurt pretty bad. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 9. My foot also twitched but my tattoo artist made sure not to mess up. I am very happy with my tattoo. I already want another one on my other foot :)

  • Jademariex

    I have a tatt on the top of my foot, one of my least painful tattoos :]

  • Ktscarlett66

    I got my first and only  tat last night, on top of my foot.  It’s small but very detailed.  My toes and sometimes leg did twitch but the artist told me it would beforehand and held her other hand over my toes so it didn’t affect her work at all.   I would say the first minute was minor discomfort, the rest of it I barely thought about as she and I were laughing and talking.  Wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d been told it would be. 

  • Anonymous

    Never EVER cover a tattoo with plastic wrap… EVER

  • Blessed_believers

    i wanna see that tattoo with the wrap on it

  • Pamela

    I just got my first tat on my foot a week ago. And i really don’t agree with anything said in this article haha. I was superrr afraid to get it(i’m afraid of needles), so he offered to just to the needle without the ink to make sure i didn’t jump. So he did it and the pain was eh. i was like okay i can do this. Then he does it. Yes, its painful, but its definitely bearable. You’ll be fine! 😀

  • Wendy1978

    I got both of my feet done and the pain is tolerable! it wasnt as bad as everyone says, just some spots worse than other! but i love them and would do it all over again!

  • Lexsffd970

    i got mine yesturday, pain is okay. but very swollen. but i love it and wouldnt want anything different

  • brookedw20

    I’m really, really wanting to get a tattoo on my right foot of a hibiscus with a ladybug on a petal for my girls. I’ve heard all sorts of feelings about it, but is it as uncomfortable as it seems, and should I reconsider a different spot??

  • ricky b

    dont ever use plastic wrap!! i used it and it cause me to get Lymphangitis!! its not sanitary and is like puting your arm in a bacteria incubator.

  • ac

    The pain really isn’t that bad…the only time it actually hurt was touch ups… i.e. the needle going over where it has already been…this coming from a person who faints when they get their blood drawn….

    @TattooJaye:disqus my tattoo artist put the plastic wrap on mine and told me to do so…the same shop did my brothers about 5 years ago and his still looks amazing!

  • Michael C

    The top of the foot did not hurt that much at all and has alot of detail as it is a color portrai. It’s all in how you take care of it.

  • Lindsey G

    I have many large scale tattoos. I had a tattoo placed on my right foot several years ago. It didn’t hurt, but was relatively small. The colors are very faded. I was going to have it touched up after having my left foot done. I had the majority of my left foot covered. Outline, shading and color. After three hours, I was at the end of my tolerance. I have to go back to have it finished. After 72 hours, my foot is still swollen and hurts like hell. Applying cream or washing, hurts. Walking hurts, sitting still hurts. At the moment, the thought of letting him finish is very unappealing! Fingers crossed it stops hurting soon so I can enjoy the work. I have never had this with other tattoos.

  • Kristi

    Got my tattoo 4 days ago. It honestly did not hurt like everyone on here is saying. I think if you want one on your foot, you should go for it! This was my first tattoo & I wouldn’t even give the pain level a 3. It is more of a sensation than a pain.

    • carin

      Me too I got one on the front foot and going up leg, wish I could send you a pic, it was done almost 3 yrs ago, and the artist doing it was shocked at how still I sat, it was not as painful as made out to be.
      how did you send this pic……. love your tattoo xx

    • Erica Alexandra Whyte

      I agree with you absolutely.

  • carin

    ok found how to load, I now want to add color and put a spunky design to it….. the only place I twitched was at the join of the tails…….otherwise painbearable for sure :-)

  • susan

    I tolerate pain well, or so I thought, so even after reading these reasons I went ahead with my foot tattoo recently. Altho I in no way regret that, Please consider the PAIN issue if you have a low tolerance

  • Val L

    I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and I do have to admit that my foot tattoo was painful, but not so unbearable that I couldn’t stick it out. It too about an hour and a half to do and some areas were way more painful than others. I read a lot about people saying their was a lot of swelling and bruising that lasted for days. I didn’t experience anything like that at all. It was a little painful to walk afterwards, btook a couple ibuprofen and elevated my foot when I got home to be on the safe side. I also drank A LOT of water before my appointment and after as well which more thsn likely helped keep swelling at bay. A tattoo is basically an open wound and needs to be taken care of appropriately. If I had taken everything I read about foot tattoos to heart, I probably wouldn’t have ended up getting it. Take care, use common sense and above all, make sure you go to a reputable place to have it done. Touch ups are likely, but should be minimal if you take care of it during the healing stage. Hope this helps anyone still on the fence about getting a foot tattoo. They are a little more work, more painful, but are totally worth it.

  • Sara Weiss

    I have a tattoo on the top of my foot and it was painful and the next day I had to go into work so I had to wear closed to shoes ot was so swollen and made me limp for about 3 weeks. But loosening up the strings did help, and not puting the plastic wrap back on helps decrease it being swollen. If you plan on getting one expect your foot to twitch back itll also swell up for 2 weeks depending on how much you walk on it. But its better to let it breath as much as you can. And all this is just a tip if you get one and have to go into work but its better to get it done on a vacation