How to reduce the pain of blood sugar checks
Nobody gets excited about pricking their fingertip. In fact, studies have shown that it’s one of the main reasons people refrain from regularly checking their blood glucose.6,7 So how can you make this less of a hurdle in your self-care?
Select a less-painful lancing device
Naturally, one factor that can contribute to the pain is your lancing device. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that Accu-Chek lancing devices keep discomfort to a minimum. For example, our lancing devices feature:
- Technology that minimizes side-to-side motion, so there’s less skin tearing
- 11 customizable depth settings to help match your skin type
- Precisely manufactured, beveled, thin-gauge lancets to ensure smoother entry
You can reduce pain by using a fresh lancet for every test. Today’s lancets are so tiny that just a single use can bend or dull the tips. This can make them hurt more as you reuse them.
5 tips for reducing fingertip pain
You can make testing more comfortable and help ensure that you get a good sample on the first try by following these 5 easy steps:
- Make sure that your hands are clean and dry. Washing your hands with warm water and hanging your hand at your side for a few minutes may increase blood flow.
- Lance on the side of the fingertip rather than the pad. The pad of your fingertip—where your fingerprints are most visible—are some of the most sensitive parts of your body.8
- Keep the skin taut by pressing the lancing device firmly against the skin.
- Don’t go deeper than necessary. Select the shallowest penetration depth that allows you to get a large enough blood sample for your meter. Fortunately, most of today’s meters require just a tiny drop.
- Alternate fingers daily, so each one gets a chance to rest.
You may also want to consider testing beyond the fingertip. If you and your healthcare professional agree that it’s right for you, you may experience less pain if you use your palm, forearm or upper arm for routine testing.2
1 Joslin Diabetes Center. Tips for more pain-free blood glucose monitoring. Available at: https://www.joslin.org/info/tips_for_more_pain_free_blood_glucose_monito…. Accessed April 26, 2019.
2 Talk with your healthcare professional before deciding if alternate site testing is right for you.
6 Sahnan A, Simpson SH. Effect of an experiential exercise in diabetes management on pharmacy students’ fear and perceived pain of injection and fingertip lancing. Am J Pharm Educ. 2015;79(1). Available at: http://www.ajpe.org/. Accessed March 14, 2016.
7 Burge MR. Lack of compliance with home blood glucose monitoring predicts hospitalization in diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2001;24(8). Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/24/8/1502.full. Accessed March 14, 2016.
8 New Scientist. Fingertips and forehead are most sensitive to pain. Available at: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25688-fingertips-and-forehead-are…. Accessed March 14, 2016.