Can You Put Dexcom G6 on Your Leg? Benefits, Drawbacks, a Guide

Posted August 12, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Dexcom G6 is becoming a common CGM used by many diabetes patients in recent times. Especially with the new features added to the G6 version, it’s one of the bestselling CGM’s on the market.

However, one common question that comes up with this device is if it should be worn only in the advisable place, or can you put the Dexcom G6 on your leg. So, this article gives a clearer understanding of these questions and much more.

Can You Put Dexcom G6 on Your Leg? Dexcom G6 can be put on the legs, more specifically in the thigh area of the leg. The thighs have more fatty flesh for a painless insertion and for holding up the device without coming off. However, Dexcom has no clinical approval for wearing the device on the legs, so the patient carries the risk.

So, that’s the quick answer, but that can raise further questions, such as where on the leg exactly, and what are the risks? Let’s get into more of the details.

Benefits of Dexcom G6 on Your Leg

Can You Put Dexcom G6 on Your Leg

Now that we know it shouldn’t cause any harm putting Dexcom G6 on your leg, it’s important to know if there are any benefits of doing so. 

The Dexcom is currently only approved to be used on the abdomen for adults. However, continuously placing the device on the abdomen can cause sensitivity and pain, as the site may become overused. Numbness, scars, and irritation are common when locations on a person’s body are overused. Therefore, patients may look for other areas to place the Dexcom G6.

The upper legs have fatty areas in which the Dexcom G6 can be better positioned and can also stay on without coming off. Apart from this, as the inner legs towards the thighs have more fat and flesh, it becomes easy and less painful to insert the Dexcom G6 over the abdomen.

This will also not allow the abdomen area to heal when used for long periods. So, in this case, using the legs (the thighs) can be a great alternative insertion site.

Wearing Dexcom G6 on the abdomen comes off a lot of the time due to clothing and when a person sweats. This drawback is less common when you wear Dexcom G6 on the leg because the clothing in the leg gets pulled or moved less and stays relatively in place most of the time.

This allows the Dexcom G6 to remain largely undisturbed throughout most of the day. Legs or inner thighs generally sweat less compared to the abdomen. This gives fewer opportunities for the Dexcom G6 to come off when worn on the legs. 

One common thing many experience when wearing the Dexcom G6 in the recommended place (i.e. abdomen) is that it can create difficulties while sleeping. Sleeping on the stomach can accidentally remove the Dexcom G6 when moving around. This movement during sleeping can cause the Dexcom G6 to give inaccurate readings, or even damage the device.

When wearing Dexcom G6 on the leg, it remains unremoved for most of the time. The only downside to this could be when a person sleeps sideways, depending on the relative position of the Dexcom G6. 

When wearing Dexcom G6 on the abdomen, it has more chances of getting wet or getting water into the device. But when wearing the device on the leg, not much water reaches the device, and so protects the device from any potential water damage. 

Drawbacks of Dexcom G6 on Your Leg 

Skinny or lean people may have trouble wearing the Dexcom G6 on their leg. If such people wear the device on their leg, it could easily come off or be painful during insertion and around the insertion point.

This is because people that are lean generally have less flesh or fatty skin around the leg area, especially towards the inner thighs.

If you exercise regularly or perform other physical activities using daily intense leg workouts, like some sports (swimming, running, rowing, football), dancing, or performances, then the chances are that the Dexcom may come off easily when put on the leg.

Unless you’re wearing loose clothing, the Dexcom G6 worn on the thigh could be compressed, causing inaccurate readings.

For side sleepers, sometimes the Dexcom G6 may show inaccurate reading if compressed between the legs and the mattress for a longer period.

Things to Consider When Putting Dexcom G6 on Your Leg

Usually, when we say wearing Dexcom G6 on the leg, we mostly refer to the thigh region.

This is because towards the lower leg, below the thighs, the legs are less fatty. So, inserting the device below the thigh can be painful and may not provide accurate readings.

Here are some general tips to follow when putting the Dexcom G6 on your Leg:

  • To find the most suitable place in the thighs or upper legs to insert the device, make sure you pinch the skin and see if one can feel some suitably fleshy skin. 
  • Make sure the part of the leg is at least 3 inches away from any insulin pump, infusion sets, or any other injection sites.
  • Make sure the part of the leg is away from waistbands, scarring, tattoos, irritation, and bones.
  • Make sure the part of the leg where you wear the Dexcom G6 is a location unlikely to be bumped, pushed, or laid on while sleeping or doing any other chores or activities.

Why Doesn’t Dexcom Recommend Putting Dexcom G6 on Your Leg?

The main reason why Dexcom doesn’t recommend that diabetes patients wear the device on the leg, or any other parts other than the abdomen (for adults) and the upper buttocks (for 2-17 years patients), is that the abdomen is the only place they’ve tested and submitted clinical data for FDA approval.

To be more precise, the Dexcom G6 manual states that the device should be attached to the bellies (abdomen) for people above 18 years or the upper buttocks for people under 18 years of age.

For Dexcom to obtain approval for places like legs or any other potential places to insert the device, they’d have to undertake significant additional investment, research, and an overall expensive approval process.

If users ask Dexcom for advice on other places to insert the device, other than the manual specification, they may not necessarily refuse or discourage other insertion sites.

At the same time, some users claim that Dexcom says to proceed with any place that your doctor or health expert specifies. But of course, this is usually done at one’s own risk.

Perhaps another possible option for you is to wear the Dexcom G6 on your arm.

And Finally

We hope this has provided some guidance on where to place your Dexcom G6 and answers the question, can you put the Dexcom G6 on your leg.

This article is not intended to be complete medical guidance. We would, of course, always recommend consulting your doctor before taking any drugs or making any adjustments to your treatment.

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