While the aftercare for most new tattoos is pretty standard, since getting my feet tattooed it has become apparent to me that foot tattoo care does warrant 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.
1. One at a Time!
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Due to the pain and swelling that results 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.
2. Schedule and FootwearClear 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.
3. Assign a Designated DriverIf you can possibly have someone to 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.
4. Elevate Your FootOnce 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 help with swelling. Also, apply ice as often and for as long as you can, which also helps with both pain and swelling.
5. Dealing with Work Issues
If you have to go to work and you have a desk job, sitting with your feet on the floor can really make your foot swell up like a balloon. Try to find some way to elevate your foot as high as possible 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 can 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 can damage your new ink, which is why it’s best to clear your schedule for a few days if possible.
6. Fluid IntakeDrinking lots of fluids – particularly water – will reduce edema (water retention) that exacerbates swelling of the feet and ankles. In addition to increasing your fluid intake, also decrease your sodium intake.
7. End of the DayIf 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.
8. Normal Ups and DownsBe 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.
9. Watching for ProblemsBe 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.
10. Get Your Heart PumpingMild 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.