Fulmer, 28, hasn't appeared in a big league game since May 30, and the IL move was made retroactive to Thursday.
"We're very cognizant of his injury history and also just the difficulty in the pandemic year to this year," manager A.J. Hinch said. "And so we almost have to react this way in order to protect him and in order to protect us and give him a little blow. I mean that's really what we view this as."
The Tigers also activated right-hander José Ureña from the 10-day IL and brought up right-hander Jason Foley from Triple-A Toledo. Ureña was scheduled to start Sunday's series finale against the Chicago White Sox.
Veteran outfielder JaCoby Jones was designated for assignment. He hit .170 in 36 games with the Tigers before he was optioned to Toledo on May 24.
Hinch said Jones could return to the organization if he clears waivers.
"Certainly for somebody that has been in the organization and has contributed in the organization, it's been a difficult couple weeks for him," Hinch said. "But hopefully he'll bounce back, play well and get back in the big leagues."
Ureña had been sidelined by a strained right forearm. The Tigers cleared the way for his return when they optioned infielder Zack Short to Toledo following Saturday's 4-3 victory over Chicago.
The 30-year-old Fulmer was a starter for his first four seasons in the majors, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and making the AL All-Star team in 2017. But he had been working out of the bullpen of late.
Fulmer is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 16 relief appearances this year and 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA in four starts.
Fulmer, who missed the 2019 season after he had Tommy John surgery, pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings during a 6-2 victory over the Yankees on May 30.
The Tigers had planned to give Fulmer a break after the Yankees series and then get him going again while the team was in Chicago. But Fulmer said Saturday he wasn't feeling well, according to Hinch.
"We had nothing to be alarmed about at the beginning of the week and now we're putting him on the injured list at the end of the week," Hinch said. "That's a tough turn of events."
The 25-year-old Foley is looking to make his major league debut. He said his parents and brother planned to attend the game against the White Sox.
The hard-throwing Foley had no record and a 3.60 ERA in nine appearances at Toledo this year. He signed with Detroit in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Sacred Heart University. He missed the 2018 season after he had Tommy John surgery.
"It's always a dream of I'm sure all these guys and mine too to play in the big leagues. So it's kind of like whatever obstacle's put in front of you, you try to go through," Foley said. "It was definitely a tough battle, but I just never gave up and always kept working hard."