finger calluses

Jeanette Terry
By Jeanette Terry Latest Reply 2016-02-21 17:14:41 -0600
Started 2015-01-08 12:47:54 -0600

After testing your blood sugar multiple times a day for nearly 20 years you get some pretty thick calluses on your fingers. Lately I am having to prick 2 or three times to get any blood. Do any of you have a solution for this? do you use some kind of special cream to make the calluses not so bad? Or is there one kind of pricker that is better than others to get through the calluses?

I would love to hear what has worked for all of you.

23 replies

luvmipuppy 2016-02-21 17:14:41 -0600 Report

Oh god, I know exactly what you mean, would appreciate so much any tips on how to deal with those finger calluses. So many areas on my fingers that I just cannot get blood anymore. Now I only have diabetes for 2-1/2 years and I imagine this can only get worse where the more areas you gain access, will at some point harden and become difficult like the others. So my question is…can anything be done to soften those calluses so I can gain access once again to those trouble spots. The drs, nurses, diabetes educators etc, all say…”go to other areas of your finger, and of course there are those alternate sites to try (haven’t done that yet, but really prefer the fingers). I know that adjusting the lancing device to come out more forcefully on the callus helps, but it can become a nuisance to keep changing that adjustment. And I’ve had that bite me many times, where the setting is dialed back too much and hurts when it pierces the skin. Any suggestions…

KDinMD2 2015-01-12 13:44:46 -0600 Report

No problem. I got tired of sticking my fingers. My palms are less sensitive than my finger tips. Also, I have circulation trouble so my palms always give me a good drop of blood.

KDinMD2 2015-01-09 12:01:25 -0600 Report

I use the palms of my hands instead of my fingers. Just turn up the number on your lancing machine. It doesn't hurt as much. I usually use the skin that runs down below my pinky on my palm.

Michael_1960 2015-01-08 21:20:50 -0600 Report

How often do you rotate fingers? Do you use different fingers every day, I alternate between my first finger to middle to ring finger on one hand then switch hands and do the same, you may have to adjust the sensitivity setting on your lancet devise to I think it will be 1 so it will be harder. Right now I have mine set to 5.

Stuart1966 2015-01-08 20:04:17 -0600 Report

I can spear through wood boards on my fingers with the thick callouses now! >8 o

I can hold a small scalding hot object with the tips of my fingers, a small tea cup say far longer than normal people…

I have no positive answer for the serious callouses.

Exactly like the toughened skin (lypo-hypertrophy (sp.?)) caused by injections, infusion sets, There is only so much "real estate: (skin) one can rotate, and that after decades and decades, these methods we use harm our body.

I strongly dislike the approach, it is self-harm by definition. Find a non harmful, non-invasive method to get this information. The blood belongs to us!

Ralph 2015-01-08 19:26:12 -0600 Report

I usually start by running warm water over my hands. Next I will move my fingers and hands, sometimes slinging my hands back and forth. Lastly sometimes I will hold my hands down to let the blood flow down to them better. If I still have problems I will test on the sides of my fingers and/or set the depth deeper on the lancet.

sweetslover 2015-01-08 15:33:46 -0600 Report

I don't have a problem yet with calluses, but I do have a problem getting a good blood drop because of poor circulation. I find it helps to hold my hands under really warm water before testing.

Nick1962 2015-01-08 15:19:03 -0600 Report

After 20 years in food/cooking, my fingers have been burned to callouses and I no longer have fingerprint ridges (or feeling) on most finger tips. Even now nearly 18 years after leaving that profession, they haven't changed. I typically test mid-finger or on the sides, and at times have tested 10x/day.

Pegsy 2015-01-08 15:00:00 -0600 Report

I haven't been at this long enough to develop calluses but in an effort to avoid that problem I use a different finger each time and I try to vary the spot in each finger as well. I use as fine a lancet as possible. What I really need to do is stop testing so frequently. It has become an obsession with me! My doctor says test twice a day. I test at least 5 times per day. I know it isn't necessary but I just can't help it.

Michael_1960 2015-01-08 21:24:37 -0600 Report

Yes only 2 times a day is plenty, usually one before breakfast in the morning, and once before dinner at night.

Pegsy 2015-01-09 06:17:40 -0600 Report

My doctor encourages me to test at 2 different times each day. She prefers that I not test fasting in the morning but I feel that information is extremely important so I insist on that test. Already that puts me up to 3 times a day. Eventually, I hope my numbers will be pretty constant so that I won't feel the need to test so much. I have a friend of the opposite extreme. She rarely tests. Maybe once a week. I wish I could be that laid back about it.

GabbyPA 2015-01-08 14:45:51 -0600 Report

I have not been testing long enough to have that, but I do have a pencil callous that I avoid at all cost. Never gives me a drop. I do rub my hands with coconut oil nearly every night and that really helps keep my skin soft.

handmashed 2015-01-08 14:20:42 -0600 Report

I have been told to have proper mani and pedi treatments monthly to prevent the thickening of the skin on my hands and feet… Sounded kinda rational, but expensive. :?

Pegsy 2015-01-08 14:57:01 -0600 Report

That's interesting. My doctor and dietician both told me NOT to have pedicures because of the risk of injury and infection. :~(

GabbyPA 2015-01-08 14:47:12 -0600 Report

That would be expensive, but man, there is nothing like a nice hand massage from one of those people. It's heavenly!

Type1Lou 2015-01-08 12:53:43 -0600 Report

I've had to increase the depth of lancet penetration to get my blood lately. I average 8 tests per day. (Dx'd in 1976)

Michael_1960 2015-01-08 21:26:42 -0600 Report

Why do you do it so often when 2 or maybe 3 times a day is sufficient?

Type1Lou 2015-01-09 08:15:38 -0600 Report

James was right. I am a type 1 using a pump but without a CGM. Although my pump has given me better overall control and flexibility with less insulin, I need to test often to be sure I'm where I want to be BG-wise. My pump supplies me with basal insulin throughout my 24-hour day and doses me with bolus insulin for meals based upon the carbohydrate content I input to it when I'm eating as well as my BG at the time I eat. For example, this morning, I woke up with a fasting BG of 51 (not usual for me). I suspended my basal insulin for an hour, ate breakfast but did not bolus for it. I tested an hour later and my BG was at 171. I then restarted my basal insulin delivery and bolused for my breakfast. If I hadn't tested so soon, by noontime I would have been really high and still wind up higher than I want to be. Two or 3 times per day is not sufficient for me since I produce no insulin at all. I'll certainly test again before I eat lunch because I need to know what my BG is since my bolus meal dose not only takes into account the carbs but also what my BG is at the time I eat. If I'm low, I take less and if I'm high I take more. Thanks for asking, if you have any other questions, I'll be happy to try and answer them…the more we know, the better we can cope with this disease and understand how others cope with it too.

jayabee52 2015-01-09 00:30:14 -0600 Report

Lou is a T1 and a pumper which necessitates more BG (blood glucose) testing. Even with a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) at least 4 BG tests a day to make sure the CGM is properly calibrated, at least that is what I understand from reading around here in DC.

Michael_1960 2015-01-08 21:27:45 -0600 Report

your b/s levels are not going to vary that much in one day!

Type1Lou 2015-01-09 08:19:26 -0600 Report

Although today is out of the norm for me, here are my readings today so far…you'll see that it can vary greatly. So far 51 at 7:15 this morning; 171 at 8:15 this morning. Lunch at 1pm and BG at 253…obviously I over-treated the low this morning. By 3pm it was 155 and at 6 pm it's 132…getting closer to "normal" range. My target range is 110-120. I'll test again 2 hours after eating and at bedtime. I also frequently test at 3 am in the morning but didn't last night.

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