What Is Insulin Injection Site Fibrosis?

What Is Insulin Injection Site Fibrosis?

Diabetes is an increasingly prevalent disease within the United States, with an estimate of 30.3 million people having diabetes as of 2015. That’s roughly 9.4% of the United States population diagnosed. Some diabetics require insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar. The insulin is injected into select locations of the body where the fatty tissue is ideal for the absorption of insulin. For the insulin-dependent diabetic, injections are a part of daily life, but regular injections into the same location can come with side effects.

Repeated injection of insulin into the same area can lead to soft tissue damage – lumps and hardened tissue inhibiting proper insulin absorption and even preventing injection into that area. Delayed or erratic insulin absorption can lead to problems from blood glucose levels varying between successful injections.

For Ben Kivlan PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS, Astym Cert, this subject hits close to home. Having a young daughter with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease that attacks insulin-producing cells within the pancreas), Dr. Kivlan was acutely aware of possible reactions that can occur at an insulin injection site.

“My daughter’s health is very important to me, and I want to make sure she has access to the healthcare that can make her life as easy and painless as possible.”

Dr. Kivlan has a first-hand view of how Astym therapy can improve a diabetic’s life.  As an Astym Certified provider, Dr. Kivlan started using Astym therapy on his daughter’s injection sites as a preventative measure, and it has worked well. Her injection sites have very little dysfunctional tissue and her injections are not hampered. Soon, others took notice of this success and started coming to Dr. Kivlan for treatment of their injection sites. Dr. Kivlan has now become a valuable resource in the diabetic community. Dr. Kivlan speaks highly of the results he has seen in his own family and his community.

“I treat my daughter all the time. We’re using it proactively to maintain the sites and prevent development of damage.”

He laughs as he says:

“I wear my Astym therapy shirt to all my daughter’s checkups, and talk about Astym therapy to everyone there. If they look for problem tissue around my daughter’s injection sites,  I say ‘Oh no, you’re not going to find any!’”

But Astym therapy isn’t just effective in preventing the damage from regular injections. It can successfully reverse the damage that has already occurred in many cases. As Dr. Kivlan said,

“Astym therapy is very quick and effective in treating the fibrosis. Within a few weeks of treatment, you should see some meaningful results in your patients.”

Improvement of the injection site can have additional benefits for some patients. “What Astym therapy can do is help the body resorb that scar tissue. It has a way of revitalizing that site and making it so insulin can be better absorbed.” Astym therapy treats the underlying problem by stimulating the body to regenerate and remodel soft tissues.

As the tissues of the injection site are repaired and the body becomes more efficient at absorbing the medication, some patients have been able to decrease the amount of insulin required. “I worked with a couple of patients with Type 1 diabetes, using insulin for so many years that they had to use higher doses because the sites weren’t absorbing as well. Astym treatment resulted in one young lady reducing her insulin dosage after just a few treatments.”

“It can dramatically improve quality of living for this community. It’s an opportunity for Astym Certified providers to reach out to the community, talk to local endocrinologists and spread word of the treatment.”

Astym Certified therapists can expertly treat insulin injection site fibrosis through Astym’s Advanced Application course. Astym therapy can be effective as a treatment for damaged tissue or as a preventative measure before damage occurs. Better insulin absorption can lead to better, more stable glucose levels for patients. This online module contains instructional videos, checklists, diagrams, and expert commentary to help certified therapists offer expert treatment to these particular needs. Other Advanced Applications of Astym therapy are also offered online for Astym Certified providers.

Not certified? Register today to become certified in Astym therapy. After the certification course, you’ll gain full access to all Advanced Astym Application courses which provide specialty education for particular patients and conditions as well as receive access to professionally designed marketing materials, clinical manuals, review materials, and extensive, full-time clinical support (including case consultation and education on particular healthcare conditions).

Interested in Astym therapy? Contact an Astym Certified provider to see if Astym therapy is right for you.


Astym Instructor Ben Kivlan Headshot

Ben is the director of rehabilitation for Tri-State Physical Therapy, an outpatient sports medicine facility in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his clinical interests and expertise are in pediatric sports medicine, hip, shoulder, and knee rehabilitation, and injury prevention.  Since 2011, Ben has been certified in Astym® therapy, and is currently utilizing the treatment to enhance his clinical practice.  In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Ben has taught in accredited physical therapy programs, lectured nationally, and been published in the field of Sports Physical Therapy on topics related to injury and rehabilitation of the hip joint and the pediatric athlete.


Dr. Ben Kivlan PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS, Astym Cert
*This content is for informational purposes only, and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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