4 Tips for Insulin Injection Site Rotation

Changing locations

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 its absorption and effectiveness?

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

Woman doing insulin injection
agrobacter / Getty Images

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 areas. 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 (subcutaneous fat). These areas also reduce the risk of injecting insulin too close to a large blood vessel or nerve.

4. 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.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Gary Gilles
Gary Gilles is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) who has written about type 1 diabetes and served as a diabetes counselor. He began writing about diabetes after his son's diagnosis as an infant.