Hands and Arms
In diagrams, veins are always coloured in BLUE and arteries are always coloured in RED
Part 1: The Arm and Hand Areas for Injection
BP is always looking out for good information on where veins are located, how to care for them, treat injuries etc. Sadly, it is harder than you would think to get something very comprehensive, that is for injectors who need information that is detailed but not too medicalised. So, on this page I have decided to collect some of the better images and links on areas of the body, starting here with arms and hands, to save you the hours of searching. OK, there are loads of images of veins in the body -but we want, mainly peripheral, superficial veins -ones that sit on the surface and that we can get int0. Images often won’t tell us how shallow or deep the actual veins are, and we don’t want any deep ones. Anyway, I hope these diagrams and videos go some way to helping you take care of your veins and, while it may be easy to say -moderation is key -it is no coincidence that it is the first thing mentioned by people who drink and take drugs the world over. And it is the same for vein care. Go easy, go gently, go moderate with the amount and number of drugs you take… Us oldies will tell you take dramas are waiting just around the corner -it canm and it does happen to US! So take the best of care, keep informed, and share your knowledge.
Also -do not forget to check out our newly updated Hand Injecting page, and our newly updated Abscess page -both have lots of useful injecting related information.
We hope you find this information useful and go on to take the best care of yourself as you can during your injecting times; and remember to pass on good information to your mates.
Before you start –
We recommend you watching at the 2 videos we have discovered and put on our ‘Your Body’s Venous System’ video as it gives a really great look at the venous and arterial system throughout the body and created in 3D. This is useful particularly if you are looking at veins to use beyond your arms. The narrator goes right through the explanation with you as he explains just where and how the veins run through the entire body -starting at the top half of the body and the main veins like basilic in the arm -and where the arteries lie in relation to these veins, while showing a good look at the neck area. Part 2 gets into looking at the body’s veins from the lower femoral vein in the groin area, among others. Well worth a look for anyone who injects in order to learn more about how we are put together and therefore how to take care -and crucially, what veins to avoid -and when.
Click on this video to have a closer look at the hand and arm veins in 3D.
The Basilic Vein
The basilic vein (see below) is a large superficial vein of the upper limb that helps drain parts of the hand and forearm. It originates on the medial (ulnar) side of the dorsal venous network of the hand and travels up the base of the forearm, where its course is generally visible through the skin as it travels in the subcutaneous fat and fascia lying superficial to the muscles.
Near the region anterior to the cubital fossa, in the bend of the elbow joint, the basilic vein usually connects with the other large superficial vein of the upper extremity, thecephalic vein, via the median cubital vein (or median basilic vein). The layout of superficial veins in the forearm is highly variable from person to person, and there is a profuse network of unnamed superficial veins that the basilic vein communicates with.
As it ascends the medial side of the biceps in the arm proper (between the elbow and shoulder), the basilic vein normally perforates the brachial fascia (deep fascia) above the medial epicondyle, or even as high as mid-arm. There, around the lower border of the teres major muscle, the anterior and posterior circumflex humeral veinsfeed into it, just before it joins the brachial veins to form the axillary vein.
Along with other superficial veins in the forearm, the basilic vein is an acceptable site for injection, although can be awkward to access. One should always inject towards the heart -so, bending your forearm and injecting downwards towards the hand -is WRONG, and can damage your veins valves.
Nurses sometimes refer to the basilic vein as the “virgin vein,” since with the arm typically rotated during bloodwork, the basilic vein below the elbow becomes awkward to access, and is therefore infrequently used.
Video: A nurse passes on some useful information about arm and hand injections. Don’t forget to see our page ‘Injecting in the Hands’