Top 10 Foot Tattoo Aftercare Hints and Tips

Women's sandy feet with swallow tattoos


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While the aftercare for most new tattoos is pretty standard, caring for tattoos on the feet warrants its own special set of instructions and tips. While you’ll still be following the same basic regimen and the same products can be used, there are a few additional considerations that need to be made when you get your foot or feet tattooed.

01 of 09

One at a Time

Evil eye tatoo on right foot
Helene Vetik / EyeEm / Getty Images

Due to the pain and swelling that may result from getting a tattoo on your foot, it is not a good idea to get both of them inked at once, even if you do plan to eventually have both of them done. Walking on your newly inked foot may be very difficult the first couple of days, which would only be complicated further by not having a “good” foot that you can favor during the healing time. Both feet should only be tattooed together if you’re getting something very small that won’t affect the entire foot.

02 of 09

Schedule and Footwear

foot tattoos and flip flops

 Franziska Richter / EyeEm / Getty Images

Clear your schedule for the rest of the day after your tattoo and the following day, so you have nowhere to go and nothing pressing to do. Be prepared to wear no shoes, loose sandals or shoes that don’t cover the tattooed area of your foot.

03 of 09

Assign a Designated Driver

Two young women driving by a beach

 Kristina Lindberg/Getty Images

If you can possibly have someone drive you home, that might be advisable. Depending on which foot you’re getting tattooed, it may be difficult for you to operate the pedals.

04 of 09

Elevate Your Foot

Woman laying on couch

WestEnd61 / Getty Images

Once you leave the tattoo shop, head straight home and sit back or lay down with your foot elevated as high up as you can get it. If it’s safe for you, take some ibuprofen to try to help with swelling. Also, apply ice as often and for as long as you can, which also helps with both pain and swelling.

05 of 09

Dealing with Work Issues

Woman with foot tattoo

 Getty / Ferrentraite

If you have to go to work and you have a desk job, sitting with your feet on the floor might potentially make your tattooed foot swell. Try to find some way to elevate your foot as high and as often as possible during work hours for at least the first couple of days.

If you have to work and your job consists of a lot of walking and being on your feet, that may also cause swelling and pain. Whenever you have a break, put your foot up and apply ice if possible. Beware that laced shoes or boots that rub against the top of your foot may damage your new ink, which is why it’s best to clear your schedule for a few days if possible.

06 of 09

End of the Day

Woman with tattooed foot sitting on kitchen counter

Westend61 / Getty Images 

If you had to sit at a desk or be on your feet most of the day, put your foot up and apply ice as soon as you’re home and able to rest. Keep it up for at least a couple of hours.

07 of 09

Normal Ups and Downs

Tattooed feet


Nicole Meidlinger / EyeEm / Getty Images

Be prepared for ups and downs during the first week – sometimes your foot will feel great and you’ll think it’s all better and then you’ll wake up the next morning unable to put any weight on it again. It’s a balancing act and it requires patience.

08 of 09

Watching for Problems

tattooed foot and a cat

 Arabela Spin / EyeEm / Getty Images

Be on the lookout for signs of a serious problem. While minor swelling and redness is perfectly normal during the first week, excessive swelling, redness or pain accompanied by oozing or skin that is hot to the touch may indicate an infection. Foot infections can turn very bad very quickly and need to be treated immediately.

09 of 09

Get Your Heart Pumping

a sporty young woman runs through the city
Justin Case / Getty Images

Mild aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping and increases your circulation can actually help with healing. Lack of oxygen and blood circulation slows down the healing process. Leg lifts, crunches, and other simple exercises that don’t require the use of your feet can really help.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Foot problems. Updated October 17, 2018.

  2. Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular effects and benefits of exerciseFront Cardiovasc Med. 2018;5:135. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135

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