How Bad Do Calf Tattoos Hurt?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 8, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

The hard truth is that it’s easy to get a tattoo, but some factors put people off. One of the main concerns of new customers is how much the procedure will hurt; even people with multiple tattoos still worry about discomfort before they get new ink. 

However, the calf is quite a fleshy part of the body, so pain is minimal here when compared to say getting your ankles tattooed.

A tattoo is, essentially, a constant skin injury, and it can be irritating to your body. Fortunately, the body releases endorphins since it thinks you’re injured, which helps to cope with the initial trauma. The effect of this hormone wears off, though, and you still need to find a way to handle the rest of the calf tattoo session.

Getting a calf tattoo isn’t all that painful due to the following reasons:

  • It’s a muscular and meaty area
  • The calf is relatively quick to tattoo on due to the generally smooth area

Calf Tattoo Pain

Calves aren’t that challenging to tattoo on; it’s nothing like getting a tattoo on the ribs or knuckles. The levels of pain are variable and depend on a few factors:

Amount of Muscle and Tissue

There is a major nerve in the calf — the tibial nerve — but in comparison to other popular tattoo locations, there aren’t vast amounts of nerve endings in the calf. 

Sure, the muscle is quite close to the skin; however, the calf is fortunate to have a layer of fat between the skin and muscle to protect the nerve endings. This video explains more about your lower-leg muscles should you wish to take a short anatomy lesson.

Tattooing the Calf Is Straightforward

From start to finish, the work is done more quickly than say the shoulder or ribs. This is due to the lack of contours in the skin around the calf. The result is a shortened tattooing time and, thus, less pain.

Despite this, you do need to consider the parts of the calf you’re getting a tattoo on. If you’re going for a design that extends down toward the Achilles or around to the shin area, pain levels are going to increase. These areas have less fat and more nerve endings, so your body will be on a more heightened alert.

How to Reduce Pain When Getting a Calf Tattoo

To mitigate some of the pain from getting a calf tattoo, be sure to get comfortable. You’ll probably be able to get comfortable and relax — this is in both yours and your tattoo artist’s interest. You want to be as comfy as possible to deal with the pain and they won’t want you squirming around while they’re working.

Follow these tips to reduce calf tattoo pain:

  • Professionals only: Search for a professional artist who knows what they’re doing. Even check their license to be certain
  • Sleep: Have a good night’s sleep before your tattoo session so your body can deal with the pain better
  • Avoid alcohol: If you think that alcohol will numb the pain, you could be wrong. Alcohol can, in fact, make the pain even worse while under the influence.
  • Stay healthy: Don’t get a tattoo while you’re sick. Your body won’t resist the pain while your immune system is weak. Besides that, your tattoo will take longer to heal
  • Eat: Low blood sugar increases sensitivity to pain. Eat before your session to avoid nervous or hunger-provoked dizziness.
  • Try A Numbing Cream: If you’re really worried about the pain you might experience during your tattoo session, you can always try to apply a numbing cream to the area. It’s usually worth speaking to your artist before doing this to ensure they’re happy to work with the product on your skin.

For people wanting a little extra assistance for dealing with the pain, a good tattoo numbing cream can really help to take the edge off.

One of the most effective tattoo numbing products currently on the market is Zensa Numbing Cream, which contains the highest level of Lidocaine allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter use. The feedback left by thousands of customers for this product is nothing short of exceptional.

Just follow the instructions supplied with the cream and apply shortly before your tattoo appointment is due to begin so that you can look forward to a less painful and more comfortable tattooing experience. The amount of cream you get in a tube also ensures you have more than enough for a large tattoo. Click here to buy from Amazon

Enjoy Your Calf Tat

Getting a tattoo takes a lot of energy. Even though you may think you’re just laying there, the continuous wounding that happens in the tattoo area causes the body to become super stressed, absorbing a lot of energy. 

Try your best to avoid that by getting hydrated, eating healthily, sleeping well, and avoiding anything that thins the blood.

You’re in luck that getting tatted on the calf is one of the least painful places to get one. Remember that when the tattoo is done and the pain has passed, you’ll be able to enjoy the design and what it means to you. The calf tattoo pain will be a distant memory.

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