5 Tips for Insulin Injection Site Rotation

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A person gives herself an injection.

Multiple insulin injections each day are a way of life for those with type 1 diabetes. But did you know that where you inject the insulin makes a big difference in the absorption level and effectiveness of the insulin?

Here are 5 tips that will help ensure that your injections are working hard for you.

1. Give injections in the abdomen, thighs and back of the upper arm whenever possible.

Insulin is most rapidly absorbed when injected in the abdomen, followed by the upper arm and thigh area. Injections in your hip and buttock areas are more slowly absorbed. Never inject within two inches of your navel.

2. Choose a slightly new location for each injection.

This is called site rotation. For example, if you give all of your injections in the abdomen, take note of where your last injection was given and move the next one about an inch to one side or the other. Continue to move the injection site until you’ve covered all the available sites before starting a new area.

3. Always inject insulin into fatty tissue instead of muscle.

That’s why the abdomen, upper back of the arms and outer thigh are preferred. These areas are easy to reach and have ample amounts of fatty tissue (called subcutaneous fat). These areas also reduce the risk of injecting insulin too close to a large blood vessel or nerve.

4. Give your injections in the same general area at the same time each day.

For example, take your morning insulin in your abdomen and your afternoon or evening insulin in your arm. This consistency helps your body better absorb the insulin over random injections.

5. Keep accurate records of your site rotation.

This will help you avoid injecting the same area repeatedly. Doing so is likely to result in the development fat deposits that can make your skin look lumpy and delay the absorption of insulin. The Cleveland Clinic offers a helpful site rotation map for each area of the body that you can print and use to check off where you last injected.

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