Shin Tattoo Pain: How Bad Do Shin Tattoos Hurt

Drawing a tattoo is generally a painful experience. However, not all body parts experience the same level of pain. Tats in muscles are less painful than ones close to the bone.

Do shin tattoos hurt? Tattoos in the shin area hurt a lot as it is closer to a bone than muscle. It is therefore important to know the different degrees of pain on different body parts and if it is possible to have the same tattoo somewhere else on the body.

You can talk to your tattoo artist to know the pain you should expect and its alternatives. Get that ink on a part you know is worth the pain.

Shin Tattoo Pain Review: Are Shin Tattoos Painful?

Shin Tattoo Pain

Shin tattoo pain is caused by various factors such as:

Lack of Skin and Muscle in the Area

Shin is made up of the tibia and fibula bones that connect the knee to the ankle and hold the leg muscles in place. The tibia is located in the shin area where you will most likely draw your tattoo. This area is made of very minimal fat and muscles, which makes the tattoo experience very painful.

The tibia is usually very close to the skin. It is why one feels more pain when hit in this area than on your thigh and why pro footballers and athletes have shin pads. It also gives one an irritable feeling when getting a tat because of how close the bone is to the skin. Drawing a tat on fleshy areas with a fat cushion usually hurts less, and you are most likely not to experience an unpleasant, tingling sensation.

A Large Concentration of Nerves

A Large Concentration of NervesAreas around bones have a large concentration of nerve endings, which significantly increase pain sensitivity. The shin area is highly concentrated with nerve endings because of the tibia bone.

It is the second-largest bone in the body. Any small nibble at this area, and the pain is exaggerated. Many tattoo artists avoid tattooing this area due to the discomfort and pain one experiences.

The Large Shin Surface Area

large shin area

A tattoo that covers the shin needs to be large. A large tattoo means the needle penetrates a large surface area, and you are exposed to pain for longer.

A large tattoo takes time to draw, and considering the exaggerated pain you will feel with a single needle intrusion, the experience might be unbearable.

The shin area is also not easy for tattoo artists to work around; hence the process will take even longer.

How to Reduce Shin Tattoo Pain

Despite the challenges and pain that come with inking your shin, there are several things you can do to reduce the pain you will feel if you must tattoo your shin area. Below are a few things you can do:

Pick a Tattoo Artist Experienced with Shin Tattoos

shin tattoo artistMost tattoo artists advise against tattooing the shin because of the risks, discomfort, and pain involved. It requires special skills and patience to make it a smoother process. When choosing a tattoo artist, make sure they have the necessary skill set and are also gentle in their work. You wouldn’t want to have a tattoo artist being rough in an already delicate area.

Strive to Numb the Area First

If you are afraid of the pain, yet you still want to ink your shin, you should consider numbing the area. You can use a tattoo numbing cream, spray, or just an injection to insensate the area before you begin. This will keep the pain away during the tattooing process but not after. All the needle intrusions will hit you the moment the numbing product wears off. It will, however, help you deal with the pain better during the session.

Go for a Small Tattoo Design

A small tattoo design will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend under the needle and hence less time you experience the pain. The shin is very sensitive and delicate, and a small design reduces the pain and risks involved.

FAQs About Shun Tattoo Pain

How do you prepare a shin tattoo?

Preparing for a tattoo session is very important, especially for a complicated one like a shin tattoo. Here is how to get ready for the big day; drink a lot of water, shave the area, keep the skin in the area moisturized, keep your stomach full and body well-rested before the appointment. This will ensure a faster session with straighter lines.

What is the most painful tattoo location?

Before getting a tattoo, part of the preparation includes research on painful tattoo locations. You will also want to know the amount of pain to expect when getting one. The most painful areas are those close to the bones with little fat in between, like under the armpits, ribcage, stomach, shin, lips, neck, and spine. Of all these places, under the armpits is the most painful, and tattoo artists often advise against tattooing here.

What does tattoo pain feel like?

Tattoo pain starts as soon as the session begins. It feels like a tingling prickling sensation. Different people talk of varied sensations, but all agree that it is an uncomfortable and painful experience. As the session continues, you start to feel a painful vibration.

Can you shower after getting a tattoo?

Yes, you can. As a tattoo aftercare routine, you are advised not to soak it. You can shower and get your tattoo wet. However, do not swim or soak it in a bath for the first two to three weeks or until your tattoo is healed up.


Getting a tattoo is a decision but how you cope with the pain is a choice. Shin tattoos are really painful and require you to look for different ways to handle them. This article enlightens you on the reasons why shin tattoos hurt so much. It also shares a few tips you can try out to give you a less painful shin tattoo experience. Despite the risks and pain, one goes through, shin tattoos are a piece of art that leaves people marveling at it.

Also read:

1. Tattoo Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts of Getting a Tattoo
2. How to Fade a Tattoo at Home: 4 Effective Ways to Try

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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