MoonWraith

Please help me with this nightmare heal!

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So last Thursday (exactly 1 week ago) I got a huge tattoo that goes basically from my knee to my ankle. I got the lines and color in one session (around 4-5 hours). Most of the tattoo is healing nicely by now but my experience with the lower shin/ankle has been a nightmare!!!!

I’ve attached some photos. Most of the trouble is happening in the planchette/eye, and those three little leaves right beneath it. The ankle/shin bone area.

Right after I got the tattoo my leg was EXTREMELY swollen, but that happened with my other leg tattoo too so I didn’t dwell on it. However for the first few days the pain was extreme. I could hardly stand up without getting this crazy stabbing pain in my lower ankle. It was a feeling like blood rushing down there real quickly and sharp stabbing. Thankfully it’s not so severe anymore, but I’m still having some pretty moderate pain in my ankle area basically all day long.

For the first couple days standing up was basically unbearable. I could hardly walk across the house.

The pain isn’t as bad as it was but to be fair I’m taking Ibuprofen like 3x a day. It freaked me out so much I went to the doctor a couple days ago! I was worried that I had some kind of infection or something crazy just because the pain caught me off guard so much. She examined it real closely and said it didn’t look infected, and that it was probably just from trauma to the tissue and inflammation. Basically she didn’t seem worried at all and acted like it just needed time (I agree with her on that).

She said if there was an infection (which there probably wasn’t) it was just a tiny surface one and I should just put antibiotic ointment on it. She didn’t seem tattoo savvy at all though, so she didn’t instill a lot of confidence if that makes sense.

How should I be taking care of the problem areas? I’ve been hyper-vigilant with aftercare and I’ve been washing the planchette and those leaves like 4x a day. I’ve also been applying triple antibiotic ointment to the planchette/eye and the leaves.

I’m not worried about the rest of the tattoo at this point at all, I’ve just been washing it in the shower and putting Cerave on it. The rest is golden.

But honestly I’m kind of freaking out about the pain at this point!! It’s been 7 days and I’m still having stabbing pains all the time, getting aches if I don’t keep my leg up, etc. I know I probably sound like a baby but at this point I’m worried it’s going to last forever.

It doesn’t keep me from walking anymore. I can walk around the neighborhood without severe pain, etc. I can stand without feeling like I’m being stabbed, etc. I’ve been taking ibuprofen a lot which the doctor advised me to do because it would reduce inflammation.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? Should I just suck it up and give it time? How long will it be until I can expect these bizarre stabbing pains to stop? I basically haven’t been able to go anywhere or do anything fun all week 😕 I’m supposed to go to the state fair tomorrow and I’m worried about all the walking!

Mostly I’m just interested in seeing if anyone else went through something like this. Is it normal to still be having this much pain a week later?

The planchette is finally starting to peel a bit (YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW RELIEVED THIS MAKES ME, LOL) . . . But the problem area is still very tender. Should I be using neosporin still or switching over to Cerave?

I need advice on how to care for it at this point.

TL;DR: Please advise on how to care for the bottom half which has started peeling but is still painful.

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agreed... the tattoo is looking good for 1week and if it helps ease your mind, it's a good looking tattoo! it's gonna look awesome once it's all healed.

i've never experienced stabbing pain during or after a tattoo. it could just be that the thick scab on the planchette is pulling at the skin when you move?

your doctor may not be tattoo savy, but i'm assuming she's savy with the human body, in that she completed medical school and earned her degree. i grew up with calvin and hobbes and the line from the middle row, 3rd block came to mind (in jest!). 😃 

psychosomatic.gif

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1 hour ago, Dan said:

so skip the fun and the state fair and relax for a week or 2,

get it healed good, missing the fair and a little fun is short lived,

the tattoo is forever.

keep a little aveeno on it a couple times  a day.

I know you're right. It's just so hard because I get stir crazy. I don't know what I would have done if I had a job where I had to be on my feet all the time!

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1 hour ago, oboogie said:

Just keep it clean. Don't over futz with it. It's further from your heart, which can mean it takes longer to heal. It looks normal to me.

Yeah, at this point I wonder if I'm overworking it. 😛 Basically I've still been treating the planchette part like an open wound (washing 4x a day, triple antibiotic, etc). I think I'm gonna try washing it less and maybe switch to lotion since it's been a week.

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1 minute ago, MoonWraith said:

Yeah, at this point I wonder if I'm overworking it. 😛 Basically I've still been treating the planchette part like an open wound (washing 4x a day, triple antibiotic, etc). I think I'm gonna try washing it less and maybe switch to lotion since it's been a week.

Quit putting antibiotic stuff on it. Just let it heal.

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48 minutes ago, Hands On said:

agreed... the tattoo is looking good for 1week and if it helps ease your mind, it's a good looking tattoo! it's gonna look awesome once it's all healed.

i've never experienced stabbing pain during or after a tattoo. it could just be that the thick scab on the planchette is pulling at the skin when you move?

your doctor may not be tattoo savy, but i'm assuming she's savy with the human body, in that she completed medical school and earned her degree. i grew up with calvin and hobbes and the line from the middle row, 3rd block came to mind (in jest!). 😃 

LOL! Yeah, I suppose you're right. She said it definitely wasn't infected and it was probably just a weird trauma response. And the tattoo artist said something about water retention? I think it's probably just got a lot of inflammation from the initial trauma and that's why it's being such a pain. 

And thanks!! Yeah I love the way it came out and everything, I can't wait until it's healed so I can appreciate it haha. I haven't gotten to enjoy it much yet just because of this whole healing fiasco 😛

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1 hour ago, Hands On said:

"It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw."

Honestly at this point I hope it's psychosomatic. XP I wouldn't put it past my brain at all. I just opted for Cerave instead of antibiotic ointment so hopefully it goes up from here.

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4 hours ago, MoonWraith said:

Should I just suck it up and give it time?

As opposed to what?

4 hours ago, MoonWraith said:

How long will it be until I can expect these bizarre stabbing pains to stop? 

Nobody knows.

You are a week in. If you read your own post, you'll see you're getting better. We all heal at different rates and different body parts heal at different rates. It's unlikely that anything you do at this point will affect it one way or the other.

I'd quit screwing with it at this point and just put a little cocoa butter on it twice a day and let it heal. You've been to a doctor, so it's unlikely you'll get better medical advice on an internet forum.

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30 minutes ago, Hogrider said:

As opposed to what?

Nobody knows.

You are a week in. If you read your own post, you'll see you're getting better. We all heal at different rates and different body parts heal at different rates. It's unlikely that anything you do at this point will affect it one way or the other.

I'd quit screwing with it at this point and just put a little cocoa butter on it twice a day and let it heal. You've been to a doctor, so it's unlikely you'll get better medical advice on an internet forum.

Thanks for the reply. It definitely seems to improve a little more each day. I just put a tiny bit of lotion on it and I'm going to try to let it breathe without all the salves. It's still oozing a bit of clear fluid but I think it's just trying to form scabs so it can do its thing. I'm just gonna try to stop thinking about it. 

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Update: It started to do this after I washed the salve off and put lotion on??  Looks like mostly clear fluid but this has by far been the hardest heal I've had yet. Never had a tattoo ooze this long after getting it done! 

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17 minutes ago, MoonWraith said:

Update: It started to do this after I washed the salve off and put lotion on??  Looks like mostly clear fluid but this has by far been the hardest heal I've had yet. Never had a tattoo ooze this long after getting it done! 

 

what lotion did you put on it ?

 

alot of color will ooze more than B&G,

 

and like I said,try a light coat of aveeno twice a day,

 

and like @oboogie  said,keep it clean,

 

maybe wash it with a anti-microbial soap OTC from CVS or Walgreen,

use the palm of your hand to scrub the tattoo with the soap,

dry it with a clean paper towel and then apply a light coat of aveeno,do this 2 or 3 times a day.

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MN State Fair? My god, don't skip that... I'll be there tomorrow myself. Looks ok. Only your body knows if the pain is a serious concern. I have a lot of leg tattoos and some of them hurt pretty bad for a few days but I haven't experienced any kind of "can't walk" pain but also I haven't yet had one single tattoo that large. Get some cheese curds (the good ones up on machinery hill, not the poser food building ones with the long lines) and a few beers and look at the DNR pond and you will be ok. Unless you leg falls off. That would totally suck. 

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51 minutes ago, Dan said:

what lotion did you put on it ?

 

alot of color will ooze more than B&G,

 

and like I said,try a light coat of aveeno twice a day,

 

and like @oboogie  said,keep it clean,

 

maybe wash it with a anti-microbial soap OTC from CVS or Walgreen,

use the palm of your hand to scrub the tattoo with the soap,

dry it with a clean paper towel and then apply a light coat of aveeno,do this 2 or 3 times a day.

I used Cerave on it a while ago. Honestly it's the best it's felt all day. I went for a walk and believe it or not I barely had any of the stabbing pains. I'll see about Aveeno instead of Cerave when the drugstore opens tomorrow though. Honestly maybe the fluid is a good thing because it means it's pushing some of it out?? Less fluid = less pain 😛

The soap I've been using is Dial Gold, I think that's antimicrobial.

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36 minutes ago, AverageJer said:

MN State Fair? My god, don't skip that... I'll be there tomorrow myself. Looks ok. Only your body knows if the pain is a serious concern. I have a lot of leg tattoos and some of them hurt pretty bad for a few days but I haven't experienced any kind of "can't walk" pain but also I haven't yet had one single tattoo that large. Get some cheese curds (the good ones up on machinery hill, not the poser food building ones with the long lines) and a few beers and look at the DNR pond and you will be ok. Unless you leg falls off. That would totally suck. 

NY State Fair, not MN. There must be a lot going on all over the country. 😛 I'm sure I can find something just as good at the one here though. I think I'm still going to go but really take it easy and not do a ton of walking, take breaks, etc.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/29/2019 at 7:56 PM, MoonWraith said:

I used Cerave on it a while ago. Honestly it's the best it's felt all day. I went for a walk and believe it or not I barely had any of the stabbing pains. I'll see about Aveeno instead of Cerave when the drugstore opens tomorrow though. Honestly maybe the fluid is a good thing because it means it's pushing some of it out?? Less fluid = less pain 😛

The soap I've been using is Dial Gold, I think that's antimicrobial.

I use Dial Gold, too. It's the best thing. Just quit slathering stuff on it and keep it clean. Really, it will heal.

Edited by oboogie

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3 hours ago, oboogie said:

I use Dial Gold, too. It's the best thing. just quite slathering stuff on it and keep it clean. Really, it will heal.

It's doing a bit better today. The whole planchette is basically a giant scab but the pain has been better. I can now officially touch it without extreme pain, lol. The scab hurts but at least it's progress. I only washed it 2x today and used nothing but a little lotion after. I think it's finally starting to improve slowly but surely. 

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The most challenging healing experience for me was the lower leg/ankle. I've attached a pic of day 2 or 3, this was peak swelling and also when I thought those stabbing pains would drive me insane. The skin heal was easy compared to the actual swelling. I think it took a solid 2 weeks before I could walk/run normally, getting progressively better each day. But i had my entire side leg (hip bone to ankle bone) done over 3 days so I did expect it to swell up like crazy, based on previous experience that involved far less trauma.

Your tattoo looks amazing, by the way!

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Update: So the planchette is scabbing pretty intensely now. It's still oozing clear fluid a little bit too. I've been washing it 2x a day and using Cerave. I'm kind of worried this huge scab is going to screw up the tattoo when it heals but there's no way I'm letting a needle near that spot ever again, even for a touch up 🤐

The pain isn't as intense now but still there. It definitely seems to be improving, but very slowly. 

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5 hours ago, Runningriver said:

The most challenging healing experience for me was the lower leg/ankle. I've attached a pic of day 2 or 3, this was peak swelling and also when I thought those stabbing pains would drive me insane. The skin heal was easy compared to the actual swelling. I think it took a solid 2 weeks before I could walk/run normally, getting progressively better each day. But i had my entire side leg (hip bone to ankle bone) done over 3 days so I did expect it to swell up like crazy, based on previous experience that involved far less trauma.

Your tattoo looks amazing, by the way!

Wow, that's insane!!!! I can't even imagine. Thanks for sharing your story, it makes me feel better to know other people went through the same thing and I'm not imagining the pain, haha. 

The stabbing pains are getting better slowly but surely. It still hurts but not as badly as it did. I haven't taken an ibuprofen since yesterday afternoon so that's definitely a huge improvement (for a while it hurt so much I basically needed to take ibuprofen at all times)

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Okay, so since a lot of people here helped me I wanted to post an update.

I ended up going to another doctor on Sunday because the pain was still really bad and I noticed a little bit of green ooze. She examined it really closely and said that based on the redness beneath the planchette, the heat in the area, and the pain: it could be cellulitis. So I got put on an antibiotic and I've been taking it for 5 days. She wasn't 100% sure but said it's better to be safe.

After taking the antibiotic for one day the pain went way down. Currently I don't have much pain at all except for a little surface crap from the scab. It's NOTHING compared to what it was before. Based on how quickly the antibiotic helped I really think it may have been infected. The stabbing pains, extreme pain when standing, etc. is all gone.

My tattoo artist finally got back to me and she didn't think it was infected, but rather that it could be a reaction to the ink. I sent a pic to my dermatologist and she said the same thing. So honestly no one really knows wtf is going on, but THANKFULLY it finally seems to be improving.

I attached some pics from today. I still have a tiny bit of redness in the yellow area surrounding the planchette, and it still oozes a little bit.

It still hurts but it's mostly just normal scab stuff at this point, nothing major.

But the scab is shrinking and the pain is much better.

This really has been a nightmare heal! I'm not putting anything on it anymore, I just use a tiny bit of hydrocortisone around the outside when it gets real dry (at the advice of the dermatologist)

 

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Edited by MoonWraith

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