10 Most Painful Places to Get Tattooed


It’s a well known fact that getting a tattoo hurts. For the most part, all of these places listed below are extremely painful and you should definitely be aware of that before you go in to get these areas inked. A lot of the pain comes from a lack of cushion of muscle or fat within these areas, therefore causing the needles to consistently go over thin layers of skin and bone repeatedly. When it’s just skin and bones, you know it’s going to hurt. But don’t worry, once you get through the pain, you’ll be walking away with a piece that makes it all worth it. No pain, no gain. So check out this list below to see some of the top ten most painful places to get tattooed.


The sternum is painful for similar reasons as the chest, but the sternum also extends down to the stomach causing the painful vibrations from the chest to extend downwards, as well. Two words: not pleasant. (Tattoo by Alex Lap)

Inner Arm

As with many of the other painful areas of the body, the inner arm is going to really hurt. The thinness of the skin is again the culprit, and the nerves will react instantly to any shader needle. While some areas just throb and hurt, this feels more like a scratching burn. Be prepared! (Tattoo by Russ Abbott on Durb Morrison)


The hands, fingers and knuckles especially, are extremely boney and filled with ligaments. Also, because the skin on your hands is so thin, it’s going to be extremely painful. (Tattoo by Ron “570” Russo)


No. Just no. The outline, shading, and highlighting pretty much all equally suck when getting your ribs tattooed. The skin is so thin over this already highly sensitive area and the bones are spread out leaving areas of grooves and direct bone for the needles to graze over. You’re definitely going to need breaks during rib sessions.


There is a tremendous amount of bone in the chest. Unless you’re really working on those pectorals, the skin is going to be thin and directly against that boney chest area. Oh, and did we mention that the needles vibrations will suddenly be a hell of a lot more noticeable this time around? Yowza! (Tattoo by Marco Galdo)


They don’t call it the “swellbow” for nothing. The elbow is not only going to hurt, but to get the ink packed in properly you’re going to be sitting at an awkward angle with your arm bending every which way, and then when it’s all said and done, your elbow will swell like crazy. (Tattoo by Luke Jinks)


The feet are pretty manageable at first, but as the tattoo session goes on, it’s going to really start to hurt. The very tops of the feet will be the absolute worse. And be prepared for some serious shading and highlighting to kill.


What could be worse than the inner arm? The armpit, of course. Think razor burn, level: tattoo needle.

Back of the Knee

Many people believe that the knees are ridiculously painful, and though getting your knees inked is going to hurt, nothing is going to compare to the pain of getting the back of your knee tattooed. Just like with your elbow ditch, the back of the knee is layered with thin, malleable skin and a significant lack of muscle. Ouchville, population: you.


Needles vibrating and stabbing you in the head repeatedly is not going to be a very enjoyable experience. Though the skull is said to not be as painful as many may believe, it still is going to be an uncomfortable session. (Tattoo by Rodney Taylor)

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