Injecting at the proper depth and site is an important part of good injection technique. Most healthcare professionals recommend that insulin be injected in the subcutaneous fat, which is the layer of fat just below the skin.
If you inject too deep, the insulin could go into muscle, where it’s absorbed faster but might not last so long (and, it hurts more when you inject into muscle).
If the injection isn’t deep enough, the insulin goes into the skin, which affects the insulin’s onset and duration of action and your glucose control. Most insulin injections don’t hurt. However, if you frequently experience pain while injecting, try the following:
- Check with your healthcare professional to make sure that your injection technique is correct and you are using the correct sites.
- Be sure you’re not bending the needle when you remove the cap. Needle caps should be removed by first twisting and then pulling them straight off.
- Inject your insulin when it’s at room temperature. Cold insulin hurts.
- Keep the muscles in the injection area relaxed during injection.
- Never use your needles more than once. Reusing a needle can bend or dull the tip, which will increase the pain, and could cause it to break off and become lodged in your skin.
- Larger insulin doses hurt more than injections of small amounts. To minimize injection pain, ask your doctor if you can split the dose.
- Penetrate your skin quickly.
- Avoid injecting into muscle by using a shorter needle, such as a 4mm pen needle. If you are using a 6mm or longer needle, pinch up the skin and inject into the fold of the pinched up skin.
- Ensure good rotation of your injection sites. Speak to your Diabetes Educator if you don’t have a rotation plan.