February 25


Tips to Reduce the Finger Prick Pain

By Gabriela

February 25, 2021

The primary tools to check the blood sugar levels are the lancing device and lancets. These tools are designed to help people with diabetes test their blood glucose as painlessly as possible.

But, to avoid the pain, there are some tricks we should try with these devices.

Here are some of the best ways to make pricking our skin as painless as possible.

Choose the Right One

The lancets, or the tiny needles that come with the lancing devices, come in different gauges. In addition, the needle has a different thickness. In other words, a higher gauge number means a thinner needle.

The thinner the needle, the less painful it will be. For example, the 33g lancet is thinner than a 28g needle. So, depending on what we need for the skin, we should choose a thinner needle. The best way to avoid pain is to try the thinnest needle.

See if it gets an adequate amount of blood. If it can’t, try a thicker gauge. So, if we need help figuring it out, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider or diabetes educator.

Test the Side of the Finger

Don’t prick the pad of the fingertip. Instead, test the side of the fingers. The sides are slightly more comfortable because they have fewer nerve endings. Therefore, we will avoid pricking the sensitive tips of our fingertip.

According to Casey Vanshie, the best way to avoid sore fingertips is to focus on pricking the side of our fingers. Furthermore, some lancing devices allow taking samples and monitoring the blood glucose from alternate sites of the body, such as the abdomen and forearm.

However, the most accurate form of testing is taking samples from the fingertips, especially when the blood sugar levels are dropping.

Don’t Re-Use

It is important to discard the used lancet and use a completely new one each time you take a blood sample. After a couple of times, the needles will become dull. As a result, many practitioners recommend using a new lancet every time we want to take a test.

But, despite all the warnings, many people and diabetes educators re-use lancets either because it is cheaper or more convenient. Therefore, doctors recommend that people:

  • Throw away the lancets once they get dull. Otherwise, they will hurt more,
  • Wash your hands before testing,
  • If you touch anything else besides the finger with the lancet, discard it immediately.

Use a Lighter Setting

Make sure to set a setting that provides enough blood samples with less pain. If we set the proper settings, we won’t need to squeeze the spot to get an adequate amount of blood. To do it, set the lighter setting and get the finger warm.

Besides, a deep lance or a higher setting will take a longer time to heal. Therefore, pay attention to the settings (dashes, lines, or circles) on the device and adjust them accordingly.

Don’t Use Alcohol

Alcohol dries the skin, and the cracking makes it more painful. So, to avoid sore fingertips, apply some tea tree oil to the pricked area 2 times per day to soothe the pain. Furthermore, tea tree oil has potent antiseptic properties which can help speed up the healing process.

You can purchase it in most pharmacies. In general, it is important to keep the hands and fingertips moisturized to boost the healing process. Lastly, wash the area with warm water and clean it to avoid infections.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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