Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
Blood glucose monitoring is the main tool you have to check your diabetes control, and for many of us, it is an at least daily occurrence. But while you may pay a lot of attention to the readings your test produces, how often do you think about your finger itself?
Taking a quick, daily mental snapshot of your fingertips is important as there are definitive risk factors that have the potential to compromise fingertip health.
A rich network of nerve endings are at our fingertips—literally. Maintaining their health through fingertip rotation, regular lancet changes, and inspection is vital in your daily hygiene and/or your child with type 1 diabetes.
Two tips for better finger health
Placement and size of the lancet does matter. Poking on the sides of the finger rather than the center helps maintain the integrity of the sensitive nerve endings that live there.
It's not uncommon to see children and some adults with one purplish/black fingertip from site overuse. Many children will want to use the same finger over and over again; they also like to poke right in the middle of the finger pad.
The callousing makes repeating poking painless, but unsafe. Simply placing a band-aid on the overused site will serve as a quiet reminder to use another finger—and can be a simplistic fix for children. Finger puppets can also play a fun purpose when negotiating with a child over finger rotation.
Dull lancets can cause more tissue damage than you can imagine. Regularly changing lancets is an easy way to improve fingertip health.
Simple observations and adjustments will help to alleviate fingertip issues before they grow into a full blown crisis. Changes may take patience and new creative ideas. And if you're dealing with a child, Involving him or her in the process is an important piece as choices such as which finger comes next can be incredibly empowering.