Sounds like they had a DeQuervain’s injection (if it’s intratendinous instead of just under the tendon sheath there can be a lot of resistance…especially if using a tuberculin syringe/needle), and then had either a trigger thumb injection or an intraarticular injection of the 1st carpometacarpal joint. Either way, they shouldn’t have had “nerve damage” from either injection. The “nerve damage” was probably already there. Without a pre- and post-injection EMG/NCS, it’s impossible to know for sure. The skin atrophy and other signs can be relatively common with kenalog and other insoluble steroids. I don’t what the “thumb locking” is unless the patient means trigger thumb. Some physicians will use sterile saline injections in the atrophied area to speed up the recovery.
Steroid injections are commonly used to treat rotator cuff tendinopathy, but controlled studies have demonstrated modest benefit, particularly in the long term. 34 Steroid injections should be reserved for patients who have discomfort that would limit them from engaging in rehabilitative exercises. Injections into the gluteal muscle versus guided injections into the subacromial bursa have demonstrated similar levels of pain relief. 35 Surgical options are available for patients with persistent symptoms, or for patients in whom function cannot be maintained.