For those of you out there like me that have been struggling for a solution to this problem, your search is over. Although the experts (ie, The Zeldman's, O'Reily's etc...) would have you believe that its simply impossible to have padding, and borders applied to inline elements in IE5, I refused to settle for that. Hence my exhaustive testing until I found the solution (forgive me if its already been discovered and posted before). The solution is quite simple and doesn't require a hack of any sort. So you can all stop scratching your heads and simply enjoy padding and borders on inline elements in IE 5 now. Yippee!

To have your padding and borders show, all you need to do is be sure to define the width attribute for your inline elements class and viola! IE 5 magically decides to apply your padding and borders now.

.classname {
border: 1px solid #000;
padding: 5px;
width: 100px;