Abnormal movement of tongue

Abnormal movement of tongue

In the previous article, we have discussed about different tongue color and related diseases. Today we discuss different tongue movement disorders that cause a different type of abnormal or involuntary movement.


In normal conditions, we can move our tongue freely according to our wishes. Normal actions like suckling, sucking, elevation, lateral, up and down movements we can do as we like.


But in some diseases uncontrolled tongue movements are seen. Such as…

 Rolling tongue: 

It is present in frontal lobe tumors, cretins, and Mongols. Some part remains permanently protruded outside the mouth in case of Mongols, cretins, and in macroglossia which is an abnormally enlarged tongue in compared to other mouth structures.


 Tongue tremor: 

It is seen in…

  • Parkinsonism: in which slow rhythmic tremor stopping on voluntary extrusion of the tongue.
  • Other causes include prolonged fever, senility, multiple sclerosis, debilitating diseases, excessive smoking, chronic alcoholism, and thyrotoxicosis.


 Deviated tongue: 

Deviation towards the affected side in cases of hypoglossal nerve paralysis, malignant infiltration, facial paralysis, scar formation after severe ulceration or burns. In hypoglossal nerve paralysis, the tip of the tongue and median raphe is curving round towards the affected side.


 Lizard tongue: 

Also called as Jack in the box or watchspring tongue, in which it is shot back into the mouth after protrusion. This condition is seen in rheumatic chorea.


 Myotonic reaction: 

In myasthenia atrophica, there is myotonic response after a sharp tap on the protruded tongue.


 Chewing tongue: 

  • In athetosis, there is movement of the tongue like the action of chewing.
  • Repetitive chewing, tongue thrusting, and the protrusion is seen in tardive dyskinesia.


 Paretic tongue: 

  • Immobile tongue is present in bilateral lingual paralysis, bulbar palsy, advanced malignancy of tongue, and syringomyelia.
  • In mental retardation sluggish and slow protruding tongue is there.
  • Increasingly slow movement is present in Myasthenia gravis.



  • There may be tonic spasms with small, rigid, conical becoming tongue in anxiety and general debility.
  • Clonic spasm or jerks in chorea, epilepsy, habit spasm, hysteria, stuttering, and multiple sclerosis.


 Painful tongue: 

Paroxysm of severe pain in glossopharyngeal neuralgia.


 Fatiguability of tongue: 

There is a weakness of muscles leading to difficult articulation in Myasthenia gravis.


If you notice any abnormal or involuntary movement of the tongue immediately consult your doctor for further investigation and help. Thank you.

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