Hey, I;m new t injecting. I do it in my stomach, but lately I've been bruising a lot, and I'm also scared I will get those fat spots that occur when you do it too often in the same spot. I went through a little stumble in my insulin regimen, and had a hard time injecting, where it took me up to an hour at some times to get my needle done. It's still very hard for me, but now I can do it usually under 10 minutes. I have a question though. When I inject now, I can't do it on the first try. I have to pull it back and forth over top of my skin like 10 times before I actually get the courage to put it into my skin (Sort of like faking myself out). Is this normal or am I completely insane? Im trying to stop this, but I just can't seem to put it in on the first try! I keep telling myself, "at least your getting the needle in!" Can anyone give me any injecting advice, or anything that you do to not think about it and just do it on the first try? Also, I have tried to do it in my leg three times, and it hurt each time. Now I'm too scared to do it again. I was just wondering, when you first went on insulin, how long did you do it in one part of your body (ex stomach) before you did it in another part of your body? Thank you! Any advice would really help and I would really appreciate it!

Christine- Ir is scary when you first start injecting. The needles really don’t hurt and they are very thin and short. I have been injecting for 12 years. I inject on one side of my abdomen for a month and then the other side of my abdomen the next month. This way I have never gotten the lumps that you mention. I usually pinch the skin where I will inject and just go in. You can also try your hip area or even your butt it is padded there. It will get easier as you do it.

Really is important to rotate injection sites to help prevent scar tissue. Upper butt, love handles, bottom of butt, back of legs & outer thighs are all good sites. Maybe you hit muscle in your leg because that really hurts & also causes too rapid absorption of insulin. Pinch up areas of fat to avoid bruising & pain. Some people shot straight in & others pinch up.

I was afraid to inject in my stomach. Seemed like too sensitive of an area, so I used everywhere else first & got up the courage to use my stomach. Was pleasantly surprised that it was nothing to inject there.

The first needles I had were large. Maybe you need thinner &/or shorter ones. I don’t think & just do it. The anticipation is worse than the shot. It’s not painful to me at all. Once I realized it didn’t hurt, I didn’t have needle anxiety.

I’ll tell you what I do, and it’s contrary to what most people do or advise… although I’ve learned on here that there are other “Slow Pokers” out there. Essentially, I’ll pinch up a bit of fat on my skin and put the needle right against it. Then I’ll puncture through the skin, slow and steady, nice and straight. That way I feel everything, including if something is going wrong. The quick “jabbing” motion doesn’t work for me. I’m afraid of going in at the wrong spot, or crooked (or moving the needle once inside), or maybe just plain afraid.

Some (like me) feel that being a “slow poke” is less scary than the quick jab, most others don’t. See what works for you.

But either way, take a close look at the tip needle. It doesn’t come to a point in the middle like a cone, rather it’s tapered off on one side. So if you hold it a certain way, the pointy part goes right in; if you hold it another way, the flat part presses up against the skin. Make sure you get the pointy part to go in first – it’s less surface area against the skin, so it will go in easier and is less painful.

I’ve been injecting 5 times a day for a week now and I’ve only used my stomach so far. I had a sample pen pack at first and the brand name needles were SOOOOO much better. Now that I’m using the generic ones I can feel them a lot more and they hurt more. I’ve been bruising a lot the past couple days too. I can’t imagine using a leg, I feel like that would hurt more. I definitely feel your pain. I hope it gets easier for you to inject! Oh and just wondering, do you ever smell the insulin right after you inject?? No one around me can ever smell it and I HATE the smell. Maybe I’m crazy. Anyway, good luck with your shots!!


My wife used to always comment on the smell of insulin! Here’s a tip: after injecting, release the pinched skin (if you did pinch) and wait five seconds before removing the needle. The pens inject so quickly that the insulin needs time to begin to absorb and not pool up (and come back out the injection site hole!)

I used to inject (I’m pumping now) and I don’t really like the smell of insulin either. I think it smells like Band-Aids. Seriously, smell band-aids, then smell insulin, you’ll be surprised how similar they are! :slight_smile: I think injecting gets easier the more you do it. It can totally be a mental thing. I don’t inject super fast, but I don’t do it super slow either, sort of something in between. You just have to find what works for you. I think we all end up with our own brand of diabetes “rituals” with regards to injecting and testing. I’m confident you’ll soon find what works for you, and it will get less traumatic with time. Good luck! Keep up the good work!

Christine, what gauge needle do you use? I use 31 gauge ultra-fine, and I can barely feel them when I inject in the belly area. That is the area I always inject. Similar to Scott and you, I am a slow poker. After I prep an area with an alcohol swab, I bounce the needle tip on the skin once or twice, and then press it through. This method works best for me, and I inject this way four times per day.

Also, I agree with Gerri; it is important to rotate your injection sites. I have one bump that isn’t too bad, but I learned the hard way the importance of changing sites.

I generally do the following:

  1. Uncap/screw in a needle (sometimes I cheat and just keep a needle on for next time)
  2. Prime it (sometimes I need to waste some insulin, sometimes I don’t).
  3. Jab it into my stomach (I try to alternate, but oftentimes I’m jabbing at my desk or something so it’s hard. I find alternating buttons on my shirt is a good proxy for alternating sites)
  4. Jab it in firmly. I find injecting at about a 75 degree angle is ideal. Sometimes I pinch, sometimes I don’t.
  5. Hold it in till 10 missisippi.
  6. Draw it out slowly and take the needle off (or not).

Takes like a minute, tops. If you make a big ritual out of it, it will take longer, but do what feels comfortable. I’m not a rituals person at all; TBH, I regularly make phone calls or browse the internet while I’m injecting, and today I had a conversation with my boss at my desk while I had a pen stuck into my stomach under the desk. It will feel more natural with time no matter what you do.


My advice: 1: get the most sensitive equipment available & 2: do some practice to relax your body and to breathe correctly…

My experience:

I am quite recent T1. They taught me in the university hospital (when I was dx’d) injecting technique: pinch with a 5mm needle. I used 5mm/31G pen needles and pinched my skin for months after hospital.

For my great satisfaction BD launched a thinner and shorter pen needle in summer 2010, 4mm 32G Nano. It really rocks, because I don’t need to pinch, unlike with 5mm needles. It is very useful to be able to inject with one hand only. And it does not hit muscle.

I inject my Lantus doses in upper part of my buttocks with one hand only, 4mm needle in a Solostar prefilled insulin pen, 90 degrees angle. With one hand I can reach all of my buttocks.

Lantus does burn for 5-10 seconds after injection (because it has ph 4), but the burn does not surprise me anymore :), and I feel it only for a very short time. .
I tried thighs for my Lantus insulin, too. Buttocks win hands down 5-0.

I inject Apidra into stomach and love handles, 4mm, 90 degrees angle. My diabetes nurse told me at our last meeting to start widening my injection area, I was too fixated into stomach. So I started on love handles, too. They are a great asset.

I didn’t like injections in the start, it’s fair to say. My one-hand-no-pinch technique (on every part of my body) helped (/helps) me to relax my body. I think muscle relaxation and breathing are important. Do not hold your breath in anticipation of injection. Do not mentally concentrate in the soon-to-happen injection, but really concentrate in the breathing in and out. Let the air flow. My yoga experience did me good.

So I was little nervous in the start of my MDI program, too. Now after thousands of injections injecting doesn’t feel anything. Like washing your teeth or eating a vitamin pill in the morning, no big feelings involved (As pain wise, that is :slight_smile: It is a nuisance, of course, and always will be.)

A injection is like vodka shots: many people can drink them even they really do suck taste-wise. People even do them voluntarily.

Many here at TuD are big fans of their insulin pumps: I am a fan of humble 4mm/32G pen needle. (Until I get a pump myself :slight_smile: )

(Did you know that the bigger the gauge (G) number, the thinner needle is? I was surprised to find out that)

Greetings from Finland, and sorry for my bad English.

Ok. I will try to deal with the problems you mention in order. Welcome to the club. It is going to be a long journey, but it will get easier.

First of all, the bruising is harmless. It just means that you have hit a capilliary (a tiny vein, which lies randomly below the skin. There is no pattern to it, and even doctors and nurses can hit them too (or in my case during trying to put cannulas in they miss arteries!!!). You just need to be gentle - not pushing in too deep - go up to the hilt, but do not push any further.

The fatty lumps should not occur if you rotate where you do your injections. I do not know which insulins you are on, but I was taught that to make the slow acting one better you do it below the belly button, and the quick acting insulin above your belly button - nearer your stomach so that it works quicker. If you are on multiple injections like me, I do morning left, lunch middle, evening to the right. I have been injecting for nearly 6 years now and have never had a problem with fatty lumps. I also sometimes use the area over the hips. I did try the thigh once but that was too painful - for me. It might work for you. I cannot do it elsewhere because of reaching and I have shoulder problems. Besides which my stomach area is plenty big enough!!!

As for the time it is taking. You need to think about the reason for the delay. Are you afraid of needles (I am! When I was first diagnosed my first word was a swear word, and I do not normally swear!) or are you experiencing pain when you inject?

For the fear I just had to do it. Think of all the things you can get done when you have finished it. To begin with set some time aside and insist on absolute quiet. I am partially deaf and when I first started I was living with my mother. I had to tell her that I was injecting and needed time to do it so “no shouting” (guaranteed she would start calling for me even so!)
That will give you time to do it calmly.

For pain, which there should be none if you do it properly, there are various methods to guarantee no pain.

One is to pinch the skin. Take a lump of it between your forefinger and thumb. You do not have to pinch hard, just bring up a bit to stretch it. Then go in.

You could also try rubbing a lump of ice on the site.

Our uniqueness shows again in the injection method we are prefering. It is on you to find the method that works for you. I always prefer the longer needles like the 8mm pen needles. This way I can inject at different angles if necessary. Like Scott I pinch my skin and the I just put the needle on the skin with a 45° angle - it is just sitting there and the skin has not been hurt yet. This way I will get feedback from my skin. If there is a blood vessel at the site it is likely connected with some nerve endings. These nerves will give me some sensual feedback if this will be a good spot or not. If there is no feedback from just putting the needle on the skin I will continue to insert the needle slowly. Todays needles are very sharp and they will slide in easily. There is no need for speed or force. The less the skin is hurt in the process, the less repair will be necessary, the less it is likely that fat spots will occur. Still they occur if the site is used too often. Thus the correct site rotation is very important. After more than 20 years on MDI I have one spot with more fat than usual. This spot is now excluded and after doing this for more than 3 years it looks nearly normal again.

I think too that it’s good to familiarize one’s self with different approaches? What works in one spot might be different than what works best in a different spot or a spot that’s too close, yet still workable, to an old spot or something sensitive?

Wow, I didn’t know they made a 31 gauge needle! We are stationed in Okinawa, Japan. When my daughter was diagnosed almost 2 months ago, they were using 29 gauge needles with her and they were awful. (She also has autism, so it is even more difficult to explain to her what is going on.) They flew us to Hawaii for extensive treatment and training and we were thrilled that they had 30 gauge needles there. We are scheduled to move home to Florida in less than 3 weeks, and I will certainly be looking for the 31 gauge ultra-fine needles!

Cool! Thanks for the info, Alan!

i’ve been on insulin for about 2 years, and I’ve ALWAYS moved slow. I guess it is a mental thing. I used to use a 4mm Nano needle (which was painless) yet, I move slow in all my injections. I am now on the Animas Pump, and even though I got an inserter, I still some times hesitate to squeeze that release mechanism.



I used to use lavender alcohol. That helped to mask the smell quite well.


I agree with Alan. I started using the 4mm needles last summer as an experiment - given to me by the hospital and they worked fine, so I have used them ever since - just a bit of a bind trying to get the things changed on the prescription. Why the hospital cannot prescribe I do not know. They tell you what you need, then you have to wait a week or so for a letter to get through to the general practitioner (and battle to get an appointment with the latter!) who then has to write the prescription out. Or that is how it works locally to us anyway.

I find the finger pricks far more painful - though I should really change them each time - I am rather cack handed due to neuropathy, so it is fiddly. I just received a new testing kit the other day which came with multi-coloured lancets which is good because when you change the one to another, I put the cap of the new one (different colour) onto the old lancet so I can tell exactly whether one of the lancets I hav in my kit bag has been used or not.

+1 slow poke!

I agree with getting the “name brand” needles. When I was doing shots (before the pump) I used BD because they “felt” the best going in and I figured that if I had to stick myself multiple times a day, I wanted it to be as comfortable as possible.

When I was diagnosed 15 years ago it could easily take me an hour to inject. I had to get over the idea of injecting myself. When I stopped thinking about it I was able to move faster (albeit, I am a slow shot compared to many others). I started using my thighs and then also used my stomach. My last injection routine was to inject long acting into my thighs and short acting into my stomach. I never used anywhere else until I got my insulin pump.