Long-term effects of finger sticks?

Are there any adverse long-term effects from doing lots of finger sticks? I do around 6-10 per day, but I rotate around a ton of sites on each of my fingertips. I’ve tried using palm, thigh, and forearm, but none of those sites given enough blood and require mutliple sticks just to get any. I’ve heard sometimes calluses can develop, which can make drawing blood harder? Anything else? And when do these effects start occurring? Thanks!

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I’m sure people can have issues, but personally the impact for me of finger sticking for over 30 years has been minimal, provided you rotate, and maybe moisturize a bit, particularly in the winter.

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40 yrs here with lots of daily finger sticks and absolutely no problem with my fingers. Some folks do have problems though.

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My only trouble was that when I would squeeze my finger to get blood another spot would also bleed.

I was to the point I didn’t need my poker to get blood.
When I started cgm, I tested a lot less and now hardly at all, so I don’t have the issue anymore.

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Calluses and some gnarly looking fingers are the only negative effects I’ve had. Compared to the negative effects of not testing, I can deal with it :slight_smile:

People have been sticking themselves for quite a long time, and so far as I know the only real “dangers” are increased chances of infection that come along with breaking the skin barrier 3-10 times a day (depending on how you test).

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And those early lancet devices were larger, more painful pricks! But as @Timothy said, many folks test alot less when they use cgm.

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I like finding blood left behind when i have not done a finger stick. However if I were a burglar I suspect it might be an occupational hazard. Just saying !!


It can make it difficult to get a good set of fingerprints or match your prints.
I know too much “Law and Order” I have stuck my finger for about four ty years to date and rarely rotated. If you know what you are looking for it can be observed by someone else. That is it so far. I just use the lancet I gave up the injecter for some reason

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I can’t say why, but 15 years ago I was getting digitally fingerprinted for a finance role - not sure if it was part of a background check - and at some point they just gave up. Too many finger sticks?

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Several times in past 40 years docs and nurses have looked at my fingertips and declared them all scar tissue.

I look at my fingertips and they look like my fingertips. As far as I can tell they always looked that way.

Whenever I have a fingerstick done at doctors office or because they are doing an eye surgery on me I have to tell them no no, you won’t get any blood out there, do it this place. And oh yeah you have to press harder!

Fingertips… fingertips. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2NrrHTFp8z0

I just pull out my own multiclix, and prick my own finger. Sometimes I even advance it first, if I remember.
Typically this is when they do POC A1C at endo office.

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Well I always figured the office has strict sharps rules and don’t ever let on that I have syringes and lancets in my pocket and in my backpack because I was breaking all their strict rules and they would get in trouble.

40 years ago when I was a teenager a nurse “unofficially” let me know about reusing lancets but I was never ever to tell anyone that I was reusing.

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Does anyone remember using your syringe needle to draw blood? The original lancets were like razor blades so my doctor told me to use my syringe needle instead because it was easier.

I started with the guillotine contraption, never mentioned to use syringe. You needed a pretty big drop of blood in those days.

Yes, I had a Owen-Mumford guillotine autolet.

But I think Timothy is talking about the single-use finger lancets that were basically just pointy sharp pieces of sheet metal.

The guilotine autolet was pure luxury compared to the sheet metal ones.

This is what I was given originally for the chem strips before I had a meter. You used a color chart.


I have nerve damage in my fingertips that started after about 6 years of finger sticks. There wasn’t any other sign of neuropathy and the loss of feeling was localized to the areas where the lancet was used. It has gotten slightly better after a couple of years of CGM use and hence fewer finger sticks.

You might want to look into a device called Genteel. It uses a standard lancet and a suction tip allowing the device to draw a blood sample with a very shallow stick. I don’t think most long time diabetics get as much value from it (too many calluses) but newbies and children seem to like it.

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I’ve been pricking my fingers for nearly 30 years (less so in recent years with CGM) and have been a braille user for even longer. I’m able to read as fluently as ever. The only time fingersticks have interfered with my ability to read braille is if I pricked the same spot too many times or reused a lancet for too long and developed a tiny callus, which would be very annoying while it lasted.

I prick the sides of my fingers and have always tried to rotate regularly. I also change my lancet every week to several weeks (depending on how often I’m testing), which makes a huge difference for avoiding calluses.


Great to know, thanks Jen!

I saw a movie once where this hand was found in a trash dump.
They knew nothing about it except extra calluses on the fingertips.
I was sure the hand was diabetic, but it turned out to be from a blind person.
Still it might make for a good tv show plot to have hundreds of tiny cuts on the sides of fingers.

If anyone wants to steal that idea, you have my permission.
Go write a murder mystery solved by finger sticks

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