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Discharge Instructions: Giving Yourself an Intramuscular (IM) Injection in the Hip

Your doctor has prescribed a medication that must be given by intramuscular (IM) injection. IM injections use a needle and syringe to deliver medication to large muscles in your body. They are usually given in the thigh, hip, or upper arm.

You were shown how to do an IM injection in the hospital. If you did not receive an instruction sheet covering those general steps, ask for one. This sheet reminds you or your caregiver how to give yourself an IM injection in the hip, which is also called a ventrogluteal injection. It requires the help of another person.


Name of your medication: _______________________________.

Amount per injection:  _________________________________.

Times per day: ______________________________________.


Before you begin

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after all IM injections.

  • Prepare your medication as you were shown by your health care provider.

Locate an injection site

Outline side view of lower body, hip, and thigh with pelvic and leg bones showing. Hand with fingers spread is palm down where leg bone meets hip. Dotted line around circle between two middle fingers.

Have another person locate an injection site on your hip by doing the following:

  • Start by finding the area where the thighbone meets the hip. You will feel a bony ball-like area. Place the palm of your hand over this area.

  • With your fingers pointing toward the ceiling, make a V with your ring finger and middle finger.

  • Locate the center of the V at the area where your ring and middle fingers meet.

  • The injection site will be at the point between the knuckles on your ring and middle fingers. This is where the needle will be inserted.

  • Prepare the site as you were shown by your health care provider. (See the general instruction sheet on giving yourself an IM injection. If you did not receive this sheet, ask for one.)

Inject the medication

  • Stretch the skin tight.

  • Hold the syringe like a dart. Insert the needle at a right (90°) angle to your skin.

  • Give no more than 4 ml (or cc) of medication in this site. If the prescribed dose is more than 4 ml, choose a different site in which to inject the medication.

  • Remove the  needle and syringe outward away from the body.

  • Release the skin.

  • Dispose of the materials as you were shown by your health care provider.

  • Wash your hands.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to seek medical care

Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Needle that breaks off at the injection site

  • Problems that keep you from giving yourself the injection

  • Bleeding or severe pain at the injection site that won’t stop

  • Medication injected into the wrong area

  • Rash or swelling at the injection site

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fever above 100.4°F (38.0°C)


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