It's a miracle

"Is that a cow glove?" asks the pool attendant. "Is it one of those things vets wear to do internal examinations?"

Actually no. And it's not a kinky new sex toy either. No, this thing I'm pulling up my right arm, this big blue blob of quivering Latex that looks like a giant oven glove, is called the XeroSox - and thanks to it, I've been able to completely immerse my body in water for the first time in six weeks.

In terms of misery relief for cast wearers, the XeroSox is probably the best thing since the knitting needle. You simply pull it over your cast (or bandage, or prosthesis), work the internal pump until the air is expelled, and then - hey presto! - you've got a waterproof vacuum seal. You may feel like that chubby bloke from the Tango ad, but if it means being able to have a bath or shower without having to hold your limb aloft until it feels like lead, then who cares?

Actually, the XeroSox made me a little sad. I saw leaflets for it on my first trip to the fracture clinic and just didn't think it would work. And the last thing I wanted was to have to return to hospital with a sodden wet cast and start all over again. So I went banging about the bathroom instead, arm inside a poly bag pulled tight by my teeth, cursing whenever I dropped the soap and swearing never to go over the handlebars of my bike again.

But the XeroSox, which comes in various sizes for arm and leg, doesn't just help you keep clean. It also allows you to swim - one of few exercises safe for the broken-limbed to pursue. I had tried swimming with an entire roll of clingfilm round my arm and, really, it's not relaxing.

You feel like you should be sitting inside a fridge, not splashing about in water. What's more, the special grippy texture of the XeroSox means you can even tackle the washing up - but then again, what's the point of having a broken bone if it doesn't get you out of doing the dishes?

• The XeroSox is available by mail order from Footman (£15-£20). Call 0181 646 2040.

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