What Are Proper Insulin Injection Sites?

For people who suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the injection of insulin is a process that they have to go through nearly every day. Because this is a daily task, diabetic people have to administer this injection themselves and therefore need to have detailed knowledge about the sites of injection as well as the proper way of administering the insulin injection. This article will cover both topics in detail so that you can learn how to ensure effectiveness as well as comfort when you inject yourself with insulin.

What Are the Best Insulin Injection Sites?

Many factors can influence your decision to choose a certain site for injection, including the presence of fatty tissue, accessibility and the rate of insulin absorption by the site. Based on these considerations, the most common sites for injection include the stomach, outer thigh, back of the arm and the upper outer side of the buttock.

These areas have a layer of fat lying just below the skin, which helps absorb the insulin. In addition, these areas do not have many nerves, so you will feel minimal pain as you inject yourself. These sites make it easier for you to reach the subcutaneous tissue where injection of insulin is most highly recommended.

It should also be noted that everyone has different body types and the same site will not work for everyone. For example, the stomach is not a good site for injection in very thin people or children.

How to Locate the Insulin Injection Sites

Once you know the best sites for insulin injections, you need to work out exactly where to inject the insulin. Although you know that the four main sites for injection are stomach, thigh, arm and buttocks, it's another thing to locate the exact spot for injection. Here is what you need to know about where to inject insulin. Make sure you measure and mark out the area that you can inject.

  • For the stomach, you must remain at least two inches away from the belly button. Choose a site that is away from any scars or open wounds. Do not inject the same spot continuously.
  • The sites on your thigh that are open to you are four inches above your knee and four inches below the top of your leg. Your inner thigh has a large number of blood vessels, which is why you should never inject insulin there.
  • For the arm, the prime area for injection is between the shoulder and the elbow on the outside of the arm.
  • For the buttocks, you must avoid the lower portion.

The Effectiveness of Different Insulin Injection Sites

According to professionals, the rate of insulin absorption varies, according to the site of injection. The abdomen allows for the quickest absorption, followed by the arm, thighs and buttocks. Therefore, the primary site for injection is your stomach.

How to Inject Insulin

Step 1: Gather Supplies

The first thing you need to do is to collect the supplies you will need. You will need a bottle of insulin, sterilized insulin syringe, two alcohol wipes and a waste container.

Step 2: Prepare the Injection

Once you have your supplies ready, you will need to prepare the injection. First, remove the plastic top from the insulin bottle. Do not shake the bottle. Roll the bottle between your hands to mix the ingredients. Use cotton wipes to clean the top of the insulin bottle. Remove the cap from the injection needle and draw out the required amount of insulin into the syringe. Make sure you check for air bubbles.

Step 3: Select Injection Site

Select a suitable site for injection from stomach, arm, thigh and buttocks. Clean the chosen site with an alcohol wipe. Use round circular motions, measuring at least two inches in diameter.

Step 4: Inject Insulin

Use your dominant hand to hold the barrel of the syringe like a pen. Remove the needle cap. With the other hand, pinch the cleaned area of your injection site. Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle, straight in and straight out. The needle should go all the way into the skin. Make sure all the insulin has been injected before taking the needle out.

Step 5: Dispose the Needle and the Syringe

Now that you have injected the insulin, you need to dispose the syringe and the needle. Never reuse them.

Other Tips for Insulin Injection

People may fear the pain that is associated with the injection of insulin on a regular basis. But tips are available to minimize the pain.

  • Inject insulin when it has been brought to room temperature. If you store it in the fridge, the insulin bottle should be taken out at least 30 minutes prior to injection.
  • Wait until the alcohol has dried from the injection site before you plunge the needle in.
  • Avoid changing the direction of the needle once it has been injected into the body.
  • If your injections are very painful for you, you should contact your caregiver to make sure you are following the right guidelines.
  • If you see much blood at the site of injection, inform your doctor right away. 
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