Insulin injection sites

Knowing where to inject insulin and how to vary where you inject it can help you avoid getting lumpy skin and give you better glucose control.

Where do I inject insulin?

Insulin should be injected into the fatty tissue under your skin. If you inject the insulin deeper into your muscle, your body will absorb it too quickly, it might not last as long and the injection is usually more painful. This can lead to low blood-glucose levels.

Commonly used sites are the tummy area, thighs and buttocks – the tummy area is the preferred one. When injecting in your tummy area, it should be about 1 cm away from your belly button.

Do I need to pinch my skin?

If you are using an 8 mm or longer needle, pinch up skin on your stomach then slide the needle into the skin fold at a 90 degree angle (the photo shows the angle). If your needle is less than 8 mm long, don't pinch up your skin.

Change injection sites regularly

When injecting insulin, you need to move injection sites so your skin doesn't get lumpy. Lumpy skin is a build-up of fat under your skin caused by injecting into the same site. Lumpy skin can affect how your body absorbs insulin and can lead to different blood glucose levels. 

Also do not inject insulin on any damaged skin such as scar tissue. This can also affect the way insulin is absorbed.

Different injection sites have different absorption rates. It's best not to move injection sites daily from one part of your body to another. Instead go to different places within the area being used.

Here are some examples of how to change insulin injection sites. 


Image: How to use your insulin pen Waitemata DHB, NZ, 2020

Tips for choosing insulin injection sites

Do  Don't 
✔ Change injection sites with every injection.

✔ Inject at least one finger-width away from your previous injection site.

✔ If you are having 2 or more injections a day, choose a different site for your morning and afternoon doses.  

✔ When injecting 2 different insulins, inject them in different sites.

✔ Use a new needle for every injection.
✘ Inject into fatty lumps.

✘ Inject on scar tissue.

✘ Move daily from one part of your body to another, such as from your tummy area to your thigh. Instead move within the area being used.

References

How to use your insulin pen Waitemata DHB, NZ

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 27 Feb 2020