could you use a track ball with the thumb instead of a wheel with a finger?
I use a logitech MX-Ergo track ball for the same issue with tendons. The hand rests in an ergo comfortable position with just the thumb doing all the motion except for button clicks. I also use a logitech K350 keyboard for the same reason, and have used the microsoft natural keyboard as well.
Having worked 35 years in a group where most people spend their entire day at a computer, many of us developed RSI injuries. I tried to maintain a collection of different keyboards and pointing devices so people could experiment. Some users found trackballs helpful, but more of wound up using “pointing sticks” (TrackPoint), trackpads, or tablets (Wacom Bamboo – perhaps because we were in an oceanographic institute so many of us spent time at sea in an ocean that was definitely not “pacific” – trackballs and mice do not stay in their nest in heavy seas).
Don’t overlook the fact that text-to-speach has helped some migraine sufferers.
I’m not aware of an app that works on top of other apps—all apps have their own keyboard shortcuts and things and these aren’t always consistent. On Gnome, I see that the accessibility settings have a section on “Pointing and clicking” that may be worth a look?
I tend to stick to my keyboard home row as much as possible with lots of vim style apps (vim, vifm, tmux/byobu/, vimiv, qutebrowser, etc. and gnome has pretty good mouse less navigation too), but there are apps where this doesn’t work too well (libreoffice etc.) and one just has to use a mouse.
There are many underlying reasons for recurring/chronic pain. Modern medicine is good at some finding and treating some types of chronic pain, but others tend to fall through gaps in medical training. In professional cycling, accidents and overuse injuries are universal, and teams have worked to deal with these on an individual case-by-case basis with adjustments to the workplace (bike fit) and therapies (massage, exercises, heat, cold) that become part of the riders’ daily routines. Some types of pain go away with the right choice exercises to “work through” the pain, while other pain is a “don’t do that” signal.
There is a lot that could be done to better support computer users on an individual level, but as individuals there are things we can do to reduce chances of injury and take advantage of our bodies’ own healing mechanisms. Mild exercises like walking seems to help the body repair minor injuries. My boss never called colleagues in the same building – he always climbed the stairs and walked to the other office. I always parked in a space from the door to get in a bit of walking before and after work. Mild exercise routines such as Tai Chi can be very useful for people who spend long hours working at a computer. Now I’m retired and have a dog who won’t let me sit at a computer for more than an hour at time.
I think the proposal of @gnwiii about a wacom tablet sounds not so bad. Gnome has several options that you could use such a device with less effort. Instead of just moving separate fingers you would have to move with the whole arm over the tablet and make the adequate gestures you need to navigate.
Have you checked for local support groups about your problem? Maybe get good advice of people with same issues helps more ? I mean this way you might have access to new devices before you have to buy a own one. Or ask Families / Friends if they could lent you a device to verifier if it is a option for you.
I have Fedora 37 on a laptop with a touch pad. A single finger drag moves the mouse, and a double finger drag scrolls, although my touch pad use is usually touching it by accident while typing.
For long scrolls, I drag the scroll bar with the mouse instead of using the scroll wheel or I let PgDn auto-repeat.
Ergonomics is important. You need a chair with the right height so your thighs are more or less level, and a table the right height so your wrists are straight. An adjustable chair and table is worth it. I don’t like chairs with arm rests because the arm rests get in my way typing and can block the chair from getting close enough to the desk.
Have you tried a touch screen? This should avoid almost all hand and wrist issues.
While I don’t know the state of support in Fedora, I installed another distro on a laptop with a touch screen and everything I tested worked, however I consider severing fingers at the first knuckle a reasonable response to touch any of my screens and use trackballs with bill balls for pointing, clicking and scrolling, so weigh accordingly.
Another input device option to consider is an external touchpad.
While you make no mention of your desktop environment or keyboard use, your mention of scroll bars suggests that you may be trying to use scroll bars as the primary or only way to scroll. Of course this will work, but is terribly inefficient. Almost all clients will scroll with key presses such as PgUp and PgDn and almost all movements can be achieved with the keyboard. There are entire desktop environments which are exclusively keyboard driven.
Since using a mouse, trackball, maybe touchpad (since you didn’t address it) and touchscreen all cause you discomfort for reasons we’re not qualified to address, but you seem comfortable with a keyboard, the obvious solution (which you didn’t address) is a keyboard driven environment such as Sway, based on the i3 tiling window manager but which works with Wayland.
A window manager is a component of a desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE, however it is not necessary to run a full desktop environment. Running just a window manager uses fewer resources and enables you to run and control (almost) all the client applications.
As a bonus for learning how to configure and use a tiling window manager, you will become so much more efficient than we pointy-clicky-scrolly folks.
Fedora sometimes uses Control keys, but they’re awkwardly placed, and an option to switch keys would be handy. I vaguely recall that Ubuntu had a choice of keys, but I had to stop using it due to the scrollbar changes.
Control-Q doesn’t work in the Document Viewer, and I can’t find menus showing which commands do work.