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Tricks of the Trade for Protecting your Pump Buttons

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  6/26/2012 11:53 PM


One topic that customers often ask about when they call the 24-Hour HelpLine is the buttons on their insulin pumps. How durable are they? Am I pushing them too hard? Am I pushing them the wrong way? I can understand why - there’s so much riding on those buttons! The more than 1 million lines of computer code in a Medtronic insulin pump (interesting factoid for you!) are controlled by only four little buttons.

The answer is the buttons on your pump are designed to take a lot of boluses, reservoir refills, basal rate adjustments and all the other settings and features they control.  However, just like many consumer electronic devices, to ensure the buttons don’t wear out before their time you want to avoid hitting them with sharp objects.

So, push away with your fingertips, but don’t stab at them with pens, keys or the ends of acrylic (fake) nails. I was reminded of this just a few weeks ago when I got acrylic (fake) nails put on. I don’t do it that often, so I was really excited to have the pretty new nails. But I quickly realized I had to change the way I pushed the buttons on a lot of the electronics in my life – my phone, microwave, TV remote and pump buttons. I found myself beginning to turn my finger a bit to push with my fingertips instead of the ends of my pretty (but sharp) new nails.

This whole button-pushing topic also got me thinking about what I would do if I had dexterity issues and couldn’t push with my fingertips. So, I asked around Medtronic and found out that, if you do have dexterity issues and need to push with something other than your fingertips, just make sure you do it with something blunt, like the eraser end of a pencil instead of the sharp tip.

The pump can integrate easily into your life (long pretty fingernails and all), but sometimes learning these little ‘tricks of the trade’ can make all the difference!

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and
should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Please visit for complete safety information.



Posted on Fri Jun 29 16:24:39 GMT 2012

I read your button pushing article and was somewhat amused until I accualy started to think about it.
dexterity issues, pretty long nails and the like could cause unwanted harm to the buttons. i work in an industry were crawling in, under, over, and through large equipment was causing scratchs on my pump. After a while I decided to see if I could get a leather case made that would protect my pump and its buttons. After a short search, I found a leather shop in Amish country. They were able to make a case for my pump that completly covers it but also allows for quick access to veiw sensor readings and any other need that should arise. All for $6! It works great and looks good too. With a metal snap to keep the flap closed and the pump protected.
Just wanted to pass this along. If you know someone who works with leather or live near Amish country like I do this is an inexspensive and easy way to keep our "life Lines" protected.

Naomi Kingery

Posted on Fri Jun 29 18:32:09 GMT 2012

Thanks for sharing Brad, and I would definitely agree with you that in certain circumstances like in a job settings like yours, the best way to protect your pump is with a case around it. I always keep mine covered in cases and own the leather case from Medtronic which I have noticed that keeps it safe, then once I take it out of the case I just keep the button pushing tips in mind. Glad you found something that works for you!

Ashish Wanakar

Posted on Sat Jun 30 03:12:31 GMT 2012

hi, I am wearing insulin pump since last 7 days i found that my mid night blood glucose is towards higher side at 3 am . What can i do to control mid night blood glucose and also prevent the hypoglycemia.


Posted on Tue Jul 03 23:29:21 GMT 2012

Hello Ashish, I'm sorry you're having this problem. I have passed along your information to our HelpLine. They are better qualified to assist you and should be in touch shortly. Let us know if you need any additional help.

Paul D.

Posted on Wed Aug 22 17:04:42 GMT 2012

Another caution regarding the buttons, is that they are fairly sensitive to moisture. I recently got caught out in the rain on a bike trip and although the pump did not get that wet, the buttons became inoperable and the pump display said "button error." This meant that the pump was totally inoperable. After looking up what "button error" meant on line, I was able to rescue the pump by putting it in a plastic bag with some rice. In the morning, it was working again. And gradually the buttons have become as responsive as they were before this happened. So bear in mind that the buttons do not seem to be even water resistant and that even fairly minor dampness can cause big problems.

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