Lumps on skin caused by insulin: any ideas for treatment?


I am wondering what to do about the lumps on my thighs caused by injecting insulin. I know about rotating the places and I do as much as I can using all possibilities (arms, abdomen, front &back legs, buttocks). However, some of the lumps are too persistent and just don't disappear by themselves. Previously, when I lived back in my country I did physiotherapy to treat the problem with lazer and ultrasound therapy and it did help. However, in the UK the NHS does not provide treatment for this problem. I am wondering whether I could do something at home that would help the lumps dissappear: anyone out there with ideas for treatment?

There are basically two types of lumps we get, scarring and fat. I presume you don't have fat buildup and instead have scars. Scarring occurs because of repeated injection at the same place or bad injuries form injections (always bruising). Scarring can take a while to heal, sometimes years. And if your scar tissue is long standing, it may never go away. As you note, there are some treatments that break up the collagen in scars and can help reduce them, but they are expensive. The high power ultrasound machines that had often been used in medical settings had been strongly controlled by the medical establishment and were very expensive and unobtainable for home use. Fortunately, in the last decade, the vise like grip has been released and there are more affordable units that can be obtained for home use. There are a variety of units out there, for instance Current Solutions makes a number of products.

I have not used these machines. I did look into them as a way of treating my carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder problems. Should you choose to pursue this direction, I would caution you that home ultrasound therapy does carry some dangers. In particular, over application can cause burning and permanent damage. I would be best to consult an expert (such as a licensed physical therapist) and get proper guidance and protocols.

I've only ever found leading the area alone for a while to work. Have to say it gets harder all the time because I take many injections and have been at this a long time. There are only so many places to go.

The thighs are especially ready to go into lumps. Leave the thighs out of the rotation for 6 months. When you go back to using them, try using a longer subq needle.

why would using a longer needle be better? i get little lumps sometimes-always on the thighs-but they go away the same day.

It simply places the insulin a little more into the body instead of quite on the surface. Should have a bit better usage, too. I'm not talking about a one inch needle, just 5/8" will do.

I don't know if you are using a needle more than once, but that is very likely to cause the problems you have. After use, the insulin needle can get a tiny barb at the end and when it is extracted it will drag through the skin and cause a scar or a lump. you might not even feel it when it happens. but see it later.

There is also a possibility that you are allergic to the insulin. you can try to switch and see it if helps.

Dear all, thank you so much for your responses, gave me some ideas and perspectives on what I could try.
Thank you, Brian, for making me aware of the dangers of home-based treatment, I would really rather speak to specialists if I decide to use any machines :)
Leo2, with regards to the length of the needles, I already use 8mm ones and I think they are the right size for me, but yes, I will give my thighs a break.
Timothy, you may find this strange but I use one needle for several days (and I inject at least 7 times a day)! I really need to stop that and change my needles at least daily.
It is a habit from the past: I used to live in Bulgaria where the financial situation did not allow people with diabetes have enough supplies for treatment, so we were getting just 1 box of needles and only 150 test strips for the whole year.
Thanks again everyone for giving me ideas :)

i rotate rotate rotate. it helps by changing the BSs. i used to get spots all around my abdomine and sides, but i got bumps all around the site. then i came here and to the forum and found some better ways to handle this. i hope you can find a way thats is as comfortable as possible. why dont you post this on the Forum?

I am 56 years old and have been a type 1 since I was 2. My thighs got huge lumps on them when I was in collge and into my late 20's. I quit giving my injections in my thighs for a long time when that happened, and eventually the lumps went away. But it took a long time. Now with my insulin pump I'm getting a lumpy belly, but it doesnt matter cause no one's going to see it except my husband. (and my lump thighs didnt bother him) The only way to treat it is to leave them alone and use your arms, stomach and butt.

Wyche, I'm pretty much in the same "lumpy" shape you are! I was diagnosed in 1957 when I was nine. The following summer I went to a diabetic camp for kids and learned to give my injections and the importance of rotating injection sites. (Keep in mind there were no pumps. glucometers, disposable insulin supplies, T 2's, nor pill medications then.) I never experienced any immediate, localized reaction to my tissue when I gave my daily injections in my thighs and arms, but when I was 12 I started noticing the top of my thighs and upper arm tissue starting to "thicken up". And I was rotating sites with my abdomen and fanny too and 56 years later still do. Long story short, I'm 65 and have lived with this condition all my life. With the advent of the internet back in the '90's I researched and found it is caused by the older less purified forms of pork insulin that I used then, and is rare with the synthetic insulins.