How Bad Do Knee Tattoos Hurt?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 8, 2019
    Last Updated: October 13, 2021

Despite what many people say, tattoos do hurt. How much they hurt depends on several things. One of those things happens to be the kind of person you are and whether you’re male or female.

There’s no hard and fast rule to quantify how much pain you’ll experience.

The pain level associated with a knee tattoo is pretty high due to the location on the body. There’s little flesh protection there, and the skin is quite close to the patella. Whatever the feeling or level of pain, there are things you can do to lessen them.

Tattoos hurt, there’s no secret there. Nevertheless, some places on your body hurt more than others. The knee, together with the stomach, ribs, and elbow are some of the most painful places to get tattooed. If you’ve never had a tattoo before, you won’t have a clue of what it’s like, despite what your peers tell you.

Does It Hurt to Get a Tattoo on Your Knee?

That’s a difficult question to answer since pain is a personal thing. You can’t use a scale of 1 to 10; it’s a simple yes or no. 

In general, however, knee tattoos are pretty painful, no-matter if you get one on the front, side or back of the knee.

As you can imagine, the kneecap is usually considered the most painful part of the area to get tattooed. There is very little padding here, and the needle comes close to the bone, causing quite a sharp pain, and usually results in an uncomfortable vibrating sensation flowing through the area due to the proximity to the bone.

Around the back of the knee, the skin is also relatively thin and sensitive. While the experience is usually not quite as bad as getting tattooed on the kneecap, it can still pinch a bit, especially if you’re having a lot of work done behind there.

Tattoos performed just below the kneecap can also be pretty painful, as the patellar tendon runs through here, connecting your shin to the bottom of the kneecap.

When You Get a Tattoo, What Does It Feel Like?

When you get inked, it’s something you should enjoy having done. That being said, what it’s like depends on the way you experience pain and where your tattoo is located.

There are several sensations people commonly undergo. If you know what these are before you sit in the tattooist’s chair, it should put your mind at ease a little. 

Familiar sensations include:

  • Scratching pain
  • Dull pain
  • Burning pain
  • Stinging or sharp pain
  • Vibrating pain

Scratching Pain

Scratching pain is one of the most common sensations. You might think that something sharp, like a cat’s claw, is being dragged across your skin. It’s often not intense, but the level of pain can be higher if more than one needle is being used. It might also hurt more if the tattooist is working in the same small area. 

Dull Pain

Your body is really good at helping you deal with the pain of getting inked. When the needle first hits your skin, your body responds by producing endorphins. These are great because they numb the pain and leave you feeling just a dull background ache. It won’t be like this all the time and may intensify when you’re getting a knee tattoo. 

Burning Pain

This sensation is like someone pressing something very hot against your skin. If a tattooist is working in the same area for a long time, this is a common sensation to feel. 

Stinging or Sharp Pain

Has a bee ever stung you? This is sometimes what having a tattoo feels like. It can be quite intense. You feel the same sensation when the tattoo includes fine detail or when the tattoo outline is being worked on. 

Vibrating Pain

When the body art is in a particularly bony place, this is the sensation you feel. Nerves in your bones pick up the needle’s vibrations, which is more common if you’re of a slimmer build.

What Things Affect the Amount of Pain You Feel?

There are several things that can affect the type and level of pain you have to endure. They are:

What Can You Do to Make Being Inked Hurt Less?

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make your knee tattoo experience less painful:

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

Tattoo Pain Is a Subjective Thing

Why not dare to be different and get a knee tattoo? Sure, it’s going to hurt more than getting your arm or thigh done, but that’s purely due to the lack of flesh in the area.

Don’t let others’ experiences put you off since your pain threshold might be higher than theirs, especially if your gender, age or weight are different. Also, by preparing yourself for the tattoo appointment, you can go some lengths to mitigate the pain. Just make sure you choose the best tattoo artist you can afford!

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